The general assembly of the 21st Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) is underway in Doha, Qatar, beginning today. Over 1,200 delegates including representatives from 206 Olympic Committees, International Sport Federations and Olympic bid cities will be in attendance.
There will be insightful and far reaching discussions as the Olympic movement seeks to create solutions to myriad, and in some aspects, complex issues and problems.
The objective will be finding ways to move forward. ANOC is one of the Olympic movement’s most influential organisations. Its general assembly is the ideal platform to discuss issues and challenges as a forum dedicated to advancing the cause of Olympism and the Olympic Games.
I know I am not alone in looking forward to learning from my peers. Under the forward-thinking and determined leadership of Sheikh Ahmad, ANOC congresses are much improved. One thing has remained consistent, though — just as the Olympic Games may see us hoping our athletes will prevail against those of our neighbours — the ANOC congress will see Olympic leaders collaborate in the interest of all athletes.
It is a remarkable feature of the Olympic Movement that those who compete so fiercely on the field of play collaborate so well off it.
Global collaboration is clearly replicated at continental and also regional level. Indeed I would argue that regional cooperation even has the potential to be the most fruitful. The regional associations often bring together similar sized NOCs, who often face very similar issues and who often find considerable scope for joint solutions.
The Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC), which I have the profound honour of serving as interim president, is a great example. By acting in the common interest and in a unified manner we have been able to successfully resolve vital issues, such as broadcast coverage of the Olympic Games in our region.
Through unity, collaboration and innovation, however, CANOC has been able to deliver for athletes, viewers and NOCs alike. In the case of Rio, more broadcast coverage featured on more channels and in more
places throughout our region than ever before. And proactive partnerships meant our territory enjoyed all the features of markets whose broadcasters have deeper pockets.
During the Games, access to an online streaming multichannel player meant that Caribbean smartphone
users could enjoy the Games at home, at work, when out and about and yes, even when at the beach. It gave an extra boost to our athletes in Rio to know that their performances would be so widely watched at home.
A regional approach to anti-doping is similarly helpful. CANOC’s members share common issues such as distance from WADA-approved labs.
And for governance improvements, it makes sense to bring regional leaders together for workshops, sharing best practice among colleagues we know and respect. Implementing positive change in a sustainable way also requires a long-term commitment. A regional approach can ensure the processes endure across organisations even when the faces change.
Working for the common good is of course the best way in which the Caribbean Olympic movement can contribute to ANOC and the Olympic Movement as a whole.
Brian Lewis is president of the T&T Olympic Committee. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the T&TOC.