By Charles Camenzuli
MILAN, April 30, 2009 - It was an atmosphere different than usual at the kick-off of the 72nd AIPS Congress at the Marriott Hotel in Milan. The main issue was the innovative way in which accredited media for the Congress had the opportunity to have first hand opportunity to meet and interview two legends of world of sport.
The names of Sergey Bubka and Yelena Isinbayeva are synonymous, not only with the innumerable world records they managed to achieve but also the way in which both of the them have transmitted the beauty of sport when achieved with dedication and enthusiasm.
There was a different spectrum of interventions particularly towards Yelena Isinbayeva with topics ranging from her record limits, to her collection of "everything dolphin-related", her firm belief that one has to look their beautiful best when performing in order to promote her sport, and her future strategy to stay on top and leap even higher.
The list of personalities who addressed the Congress varied from the welcome address of Luigi Ferraiolo – President of the Italian Sports Journalists Union (USSI) to Dott. Gianni Petrucci – President of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) ,Raffaele Pagnozzi – Vice President of the European Olympic Committees and IOC member Dott. Franco Carraro – a leading figure in the world of sport.
With the city of Milan being in the limelight as Europes official top sporting city for 2009 it was inevitable that such reference was made by Mr Pier Gianni Prosperini – who is the Assessore dello Sport for the Lombardia Region, as well as Mr.Filippo Grassia, Regional President of CONI for Milan and President of the Committee which embraces Milan as the capital of sport.
Delegates were also addressed by Mr.Giancarlo Abete, President of the Italian Football Federation and by Mr. Franco Siddi, President of the Italian Journalists Federation as well as President of the European Journalists Federation.
And with football in mind, in view of the 2010 Football World Cup to be held in South Africa the attention was on Mr. Hans Klaus, FIFA head of communications and public affairs, and Mr. Marcello Lippi, manager of the Italian Football National team who led the Azzurri to win the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
US $20,000 for L’Aquila Earthquake Fund
At the end of the star-studded first session of the Congress, AIPS president Gianni Merlo, while stressing that the media is to keep on fighting for its own independence with its own tools to show the transparency of sport, informed those present that a donation of US $20,000 will be given to the fund of solidarity to the people of Abruzzo following the massive earthquake which hit L’Aquila some weeks ago. The donation will be passed to the Italian Sports Journalists Union (USSI).
Below: (L-R) Yelena Isinbayeva's coach Vitaly Petrov, world polevault champion Yelena Isinbayeva, AIPS President Gianni Merlo, and IAAF Vice-president, IOC Member and former world polevault champion Sergey Bubka participated in a formum moderated by French journalist Marc Maury. They then answered questions from congress delegates.