BUBKA CELEBRATES WORLD ATHLETICS DAY WITH VOW TO BUILD ATHLETICS APPEAL TO YOUTH
IAAF Vice President and Olympic champion has marked World Athletics Day by pledging to do more to engage young people in sport
Kyiv, Ukraine, May 25, 2015 – Sergey Bubka, IAAF Vice President and Olympic champion, has marked World Athletics Day by pledging to do more to engage young people in sport.
Bubka spent Saturday (May 23) wishing the Baku 2015 team farewell as they departed from Kiev and spent yesterday (May 24) at the Ukraine Junior Team Championships in Kirovohrad, where he met and mentored some of the young athletes taking part.
Bubka believes that national and international athletics events must do more to engage with young audiences and he said: “Young people have so many distractions now – and they are becoming more sedentary by nature, which is a worry for society.
“Whenever I meet young people, I explain to them how much sport can teach them, such as respect, determination, dedication and teamwork. Even as an individual athlete, when I was competing I relied upon my coach and other staff to support me.
“The world is changing and if athletics is to remain one of the top sports on the international sporting calendar, we must adapt to inspire new generations to watch and to compete. That means using social media to communicate with younger generations; providing training courses and support for athletes through their National Federations; and creating scholarships for Sports Masters post-graduate programs so that more young people can develop athletics initiatives in their home countries.
“The IAAF must continue to push these messages to today’s youth so that more people get active and I am already committed to doing that through the visits to projects and sports clubs for young people I attend on a regular basis. I could see today, World Athletics Day, how much sport inspires young people when they are encouraged to participate.”
And Bubka believes that the IAAF should promote new technology to support young athletes and fans. He added: “Technology now means that young people are more connected than ever. Wearable technology such as fitness trackers give us a lot of opportunities to make sport even more exciting. You can use GPS-based programs to collect all your personal sports data, share it with you friends on the other side of the world, get your perfect training program or share your experiences in the stadium or at street competitions with the help of all these wonderful tools.
“I believe that these developments will help coaches, help young athletes and spectators and the IAAF must be at the forefront of technology, producing training programs that can be used by National Federations to build the engagement athletics has with younger generations.”
Bubka also launched his new book at a presentation at the World Athletics Day event in Kirovorad. ‘Flying Bubka’, aimed at children between the ages of seven and 15 and available in English and six more languages, is a story of his childhood and athletics career.
Bubka added: “I truly hope this book will motivate kids from all over the world to make sport and an active lifestyle a part of their daily lives. The IAAF should take responsibility to involve our champions as role models for young athletes in their native countries as well as globally.”
After a distinguished career as an athlete, Bubka has served for the past 15 years in various senior positions at the IAAF, IOC and Ukraine National Olympic Committee and has always been an advocate for the development of athletics and other sports worldwide.
Sergey Bubka is a candidate for the Presidency of the IAAF, and the election will be held in August 2015 during the IAAF Congress in in Beijing, China.