Thank you for a great Year
This is a great time of the Year to say thank you. The Year 2012 is almost gone and 2013 approaches with all of its challenges, including probably the greatest challenge that this body has ever had to face - a Stadia Championships in a Region that is probably not yet ready to host such a massive and difficult event. However that is the challenge that we all accept when we stand for office and together with the support of the appointed Regional Delegates and our incredibly fabulous IAAF representative, Mr. Cesar Moreno Bravo, I am totally confident that we will prove 2013 and Porto Alegre to be a great success.
To each of you my personal thanks for the support you have given me and the decisions that have been taken in the interests of WMA. We started the year with the WMA Indoors Championships in Jyvaskyla, Finland and it was a marvellously successful competition. All of the predictions of problems with the 4 lane facility proved to be manageable and I thank Serge Beckers and Brian Keaveney and their committees, together with their competition officials, for their efforts and the success they brought to WMA.
Vesa Lappalainen has every right to be a proud man. His country again delivered much more than was expected and the host City and the LOC were superb in the way they prepared, presented and completed the championship.
Whilst I have named some individuals I want to thank everyone for their work. It takes many shoulders to turn the wheel and each of you made a contribution and I am proud to lead this team. We completed a Council meeting (well most of you did - I got to see a lot more of Singapore than I had anticipated and arrived almost a day late - thanks Vesa for leading the team in my absence). Cesar Moreno Bravo must receive special mention. He deferred very important surgery to allow him to travel and be in Jyväskylä as he felt he had to be there. He also chaired a landmark meeting of the IAAF Masters Committee and again proved what a great ambassador he is for our sport. thankfully his commitment did not impact his later surgery and he is now in full recovery.
The rest of the year seems at times to be a blur. There were six successful Regional Track and Field Championships conducted around the world. Our Regional Delegates were again very active in these successes and they must be applauded for the great job that they do. This is the coalface of our sport - the Regional competitions.
Perhaps the greatest contribution however has come from our Secretary, Winston Thomas. As you all now Winston and I agree to disagree probably more often than we should, but we also have a very healthy respect for each as people and in our positions within WMA. Winston always steps up and works to his best ability when asked to do so - and I have asked him many times this past year to put in a big effort. He has achieved a great deal and despite what many may see as an unusual relationship, I can advise that we have achieved some great successes for WMA in 2012.
Winston has developed a strong and trusting status with the IAAF and he is very well respected within the IAAF Affiliate structure. Together we have been able to achieve a level of recognition for WMA that was not previously so. Guided and assisted by Cesar, we have taken the level of respect and trust between WMA and IAAF to a new status and that is going to be a great strength for our organisation in the years ahead.
The crowning glory for the year was the IAAF Centenary celebrations in Barcelona where WMA Athletes were presented on stage as part of the IAAF Athletics Family for the first time - a truly momentus occasion for our sport.
But we must move forward. Winston undertook a very tough assignment earlier this month when he attended Porto Alegre for ceremonial purposes but at the same time under very strict instruction to 'get this organisation working'. You have all seen his reports. He worked hard - I drove him silly with instructions and demands and to his credit he worked very hard. The result is that now things are working, people understand their roles and they know what they have to do. It is still not going to be easy, but his work has
laid the foundation for this event to be very successful. Now we all have a role to play.
So in conclusion I simply say - enjoy your festive period - in what ever way is best according to your beliefs and your lifestyle. Refresh, recharge and be ready...2013 is going to be a big year and every one of you will have to work hard at many levels for WMA to again prove that Masters Athletics is really the very best sport.
With humble sincerity
Stan Perkins, WMA-President