IAAF Regional Development Centre Moscow

“Be creative” Coe tells young leaders

The 4th European Athletics-UNESCO Young Leaders Forum was staged from 10-14 August in Zurich.

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With an informal question and answer presentation followed by an autograph and “selfies” session, Lord Sebastian Coe provided the highlight of final day of the 4th European Athletics-UNESCO Young Leaders Forum in Zurich.

Lord Coe, the IAAF vice president and London 2012 Olympic Games organising committee chairman, thanked the 65 participants representing 45 countries for their commitment to athletics and their voluntary work in the sport, saying that “athletics must constantly find how young people want to be engaged in sport and then innovate to meet the challenges.”

“I can think of no better group for this work than young leaders like yourselves who have already demonstrated your passion for athletics by the work you do.”

After describing how he got his start as an athlete (“from a young age I really liked the physical sensation of running and I still run several days a week”) and the importance of volunteers at various points in his career, including the success of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Lord Coe encouraged the participants along their own paths.

“it is important that you are creative with your projects, you help move the sport in the ways that young people want it to go, and then use the various media options available to you to communicate your ideas and successes,” he said.

The Forum was staged from 10 to 14 August in cooperation with the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization and with support from the Zurich 2014 local organising committee, Erdgas, the LOC’s partner for volunteering and sustainability and ENGSO Youth, the youth wing of the European Non-Governmental Sport Organisation.

It is one of the main activities of the European Athletics Young Leaders Community, which was established in 2011to promote volunteering and youth-led projects in athletics. The Community has recently welcomed its 1900th member and more than 55,000 hours of voluntary work has been recorded.

Much of the Forum’s content was delivered by members, including teams from Bosnia & Herzegovina, Norway, Slovenia and Spain who gave workshops on the successful projects they have delivered in the last two years as examples of good practice.

Prior to arrival at the Forum, the participants prepare multi-media displays, which were exhibited at the Forum venue.  On the final day of the Forum they voted on the best display, which was won by Stine Haugum and Helge Rosfjord of Norway, and the most interesting project, which was won by Damiao Freitas of Portugal. The winners each received an iPad mini in recognition of their efforts.

After Lord Coe’s presentation the participants divided into five working groups, each of which prepared a short presentation of ideas for the future of athletics to the plenary of all the participants.

After their daily work, the Forum participants attended the first three evening sessions of the European Athletics Championships in the Letzigrund Stadium.

For more information about the community and the more than 250 projects delivered by its member see  http://www.athleticscommunity.org and the community Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AthleticsCommunity.