Exclusive: Developing school sport is challenge we share with IOC, says ISF President
Thursday, 19 March 2015
Laurent Petrynka, President of the International School and Sport Federation, says the development of school sport is high on the IOC's agenda (c)Qatar School Sport AssociationLaurent Petrynka, President of the International School Sport Federation (ISF), claimed development of school sport across the globe is now just as much a challenge for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as his own organisation.
Petrynka was elected President at the ISF's General Assembly in June, with "Vision 2030'', a long-term plan for the future of the organisation, at the core of his ambitions.
The Frenchman's vision results from his successful work as the director of UNSS, the French national federation for school sport, which has more than one million adherents.
The work undertaken by the UNSS to develop French school sport both quantitatively and qualitatively was recognised by the ISF's members as 51 out of 76 present at the General Assembly in Besancon chose Petrynka to represent them.
Earlier this year, new guidelines were released by the IOC, in partnership with UNESCO and several other international organisations, urging Governments and educational planners to invest in the quantity and quality of physical education that they offer.
The International School and Sport Federation Convention aims to address the challenges and future of global school sport (c)Getty Images
Speaking here on day two of the inaugural ISF Convention, which aims to address the challenges and future of global school sport, Petrynka stressed that tackling the problem is high on the IOC's agenda.
"I don't want to talk alone about school sport - it is not only our problem," he told insidethegames.
"It's the problem of all the development of the IOC.
"I recently met with the IOC to speak about the subject of sport at school and it is clear that it is one of the preoccupations.
"It is the same as our preoccupation, which is that the position of sport at school is not increasing in all of the countries - sometimes it's decreasing.
"So we think like this - 'Oh it's good, you have physical education, you have school sport'.
"It's not the case."
Having been in the ISF hot seat now for more than nine months, Petrynka is gradually beginning to implement his plans.
A major recent development was the signing of an agreement with SportAccord, the umbrella organisation for all Olympic and non-Olympic international sports federations, who will market the ISF's flagship event, the Gymnasiade.
Petrynka admitted the ISF is "very weak" in the areas of marketing and communication, and although he is confident that the Turkish city of Trabzon will have no problems in organising the next edition of the quadrennial international multi-sport event in 2016, he's happy to pass on the promotional responsibilities to SportAccord.
The Qatar Olympic Committee's Schools Olympic Programme finals are due to be held at the Aspire Dome in Doha tomorrow (c)Getty Images
The ISF is looking to compile two new documents on the back of its first ever Convention, one of which will be a report book addressed to all national and international federations conveying recommendations regarding school sport.
The other will consist of five recommendations from each of the Convention's workshops and plenary sessions, ready for approval at the ISF's Executive Committee meeting in Pretoria in October.
The recommendations, surrounding various themes in relation to world school sport development, are then set to be adopted at the ISF General Assembly in July 2016.
Participants at the ISF Convention, which concluded this evening with a Charity Gala Dinner, will be able to attend the eighth edition of the Qatar Olympic Committee's (QOC) Schools Olympic Programme (SOP) finals at the famous Aspire Dome tomorrow.
The SOP, which sees students compete throughout the school year with the ultimate goal of qualifying for the finals, was launched as a legacy of the 2006 Asian Games and has grown from 7,099 participants from 300 schools in its inaugural year, to 25,454 students from over 461 schools in 2014.
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