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9 November 2006, 12:00 pm
A Word With The Chair - Bjorn UNGER
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ISAF Annual Conference 2006
Helsinki, Finland

The ISAF Events Committee met in Helsinki, Finland on Wednesday, as the World Cup of sailing went under the microscope at the ISAF Annual Conference. Following the conclusion of the meeting www.sailing.org caught up with the Committee Chairman Bjorn UNGER (SWE).
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Charged with reporting to the ISAF Council on the most important aspects of the Olympic Sailing Competition and ISAF Events, the Events Committee fulfils one of the most vital roles in ISAF.

Asked about key topics of this year's meeting UNGER responded, I would rank the World Cup issue as the most important one and the one that may have the largest implication on our future if we handle it the right way. It's nice to see that the organizers and classes have been able to come together on a very, very important topic.'

Creating Heroes

He went on no explain how the Events Committee envisaged a World Cup, 'To join forces for a number of important partners within sailing: the organizers and the classes. We will have a name the ISAF World Cup, and from that we will have a vehicle to focus on sailing, to create heroes and to get organized like a Grand Slam, ATP Tour or Ryder Cup.

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World Sailor Of The Year

UNGER is no stranger himself to sailing at the very highest level. Throughout a lifetime involved in the sport he has competing in a large range of classes including the current Olympic Classes, the Star, 49er and Laser, as well as representing Sweden in the Admiral's Cup and competing in the America's Cup during the 1970s. Currently most of his racing is done in the Dragon class, where he often lines up against one of the members of the Events Committee, HRH Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.

Along with the World Cup, UNGER also reflected on last year's hot topic of the Medal Race, which he describes as, 'a very big step forward'. The Format Working Party continued their research this year, conducting surveys right across the sailing world to get feedback on the new Olympic Format. This is a role that UNGER sees as very important to aid future decisions, and he pointed to the example of the FIFA World Cup, upon which surveys have been carried out since the 1930s.

Youth Success

The Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship has gone from strength to strength over recent years, with this year's event in Weymouth, Great Britain breaking all previous records with 281 sailors from 63 nations competing.

'The Sub-Committee have been able to grow that wonderfully,' said UNGER in praising the work of chair Fiona KIDD (CAN) and the other members of the Youth World Championship Sub-Committee. 'They get many remarks, replies and signs that they do a good job. On one hand they have as many nations as the Olympic Games. They have a prestigious sponsor... It's something that has encouraged us all.'

Meetings Microsite

The ISAF Meetings microsite - www.sailing.org - contains the Agendas, Supporting Papers and Submission from past meetings, 1997 to date. Via the online Minutes Archive you can access all past minutes of ISAF Committee Meetings from 1993 to date.

For all the news on the ISAF Annual Conference CLICK HERE.

ISAF. Image, Bjorn UNGER:© ISAF
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