Who am I?
- Name: Vesa Lappalainen
- Nationality: Finnish
- Event Competed in (if applicable): before 2016 a sprinter, nowadays shot put
- When did I start being involved with Masters Athletics: My first duty was in 2001 as a secretary general of a bidding committee of World Masters Championships in Helsinki 2005. Unfortunately Helsinki did not win, but I got a Managing Director working place in Finland Masters Athletics since 2002!
What is your biggest accomplishment within ‘masters-athletics’ so far? And how did/does it make you feel?
On a national level here in Finland I has been creating and developing masters sports both on a competition level and an organizational level. I have been able to build our national championships and the rules at the same time. My work together with local sport clubs and athletes has given such a huge perspective how important masters sport is in the society and in our health policy. During my working period our federation has been crowing up from 4000 members to 11 000.
On an international level I have been working as a team manager during these 16 years in all our Nordic, European and World Championships. All these 16 years I have been a member of our Nordic Board and four years period as a vice president both in European and World Associations.
How do you balance life and athletics?
Athletics is a hoppy and it is only question how you manage your time table. For me it has been very easy and I do not see any problems. Of course sometimes I feel that is it my free time or am I working.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
For this is very easy to answer: In Finland it is sport schools for adults. It was my idea to start own track and field school for adults. The start was 2004 in Helsinki and nowadays these kin d of schools are all over Finland.
Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
Yes, I live by sports, different kind of sport and those kind of sport what I like. Always I am saying that love sport and do that kind of sport what you like and enjoy it!
Where can people follow you? (Links to social media etc.)
I have to say that I am not very often updating my facebook, only when it happen something important. I feel that my work in our sport club and in our national federation is best prove from my activities in sport.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Feel free to ask more, if you have something, please ask, and bring your new ideas and opinions to me!
About the Role!
What do you believe will be your biggest challenge as the WMA President? And how would you approach it?
I have so long working and volunteer period in the masters sport work and from all levels, so I feel that now it is my turn to realize these experiments for the best of WMA. I know the administration work of WMA and how to co-operate with other organizations so I do not need to learn these items. I am ready to take response and start the work for the best of WMA.
What do you see about the WMA currently that is successful and you would like to keep it going and push further?
Life is always moving on. We have to remember this. Also WMA has to live in a changing world. But at the same time we have to remember our basic work and it is the work for athletes! I will always follow this basic element, do your best for the athletes. What this means in the work of WMA? One example: WMA has to remember that mainly athletes are giving the money to the budget of WMA and this why WMA has to remember this and not increase entry fees after year and year. WMA can’t develop very big organization and administration if WMA has not money to that and this money can’t come from athletes.
What would you like to change or develop in order to improve the WMA either as a sporting organisation of its public image?
My one items is to develop our championships to serve better both our athletes and media. I would like to see that kind of time schedule where on the field and track are happening all time some events, not like today many silent hours and nothing happening. This is only one example. After this second item is that I would like to develop our meetings for better cooperation and discussions. We have to deal our good examples and give advices what some country has create. Third and very important item is antidoping work. We have to create better information for athletes and same time do more tests, also during training season.
What’s your position on how to increase the global inclusion of athletes from smaller countries, and increase the awareness of the WMA?
This is a national and society question. I will keep always in my work this part of our master sport. I have been telling so much that importance of our sport that I will never end it. I will encourage all national federation to do this social and health policy together all other sport federations with national parliament and government. We have to tell that our athletes are not only competing, they are at the same time keeping up their health and living longer without medicine or hospital services. I feel that this is a sign from better future and WMA has to keep it rolling all the time! Life long sport!
A Little More information about Candidate – Vesa Lappalainen
Nominated by: Finland Masters Athletics
Education: studies in history of Finnish literature and education at Tampere University
Profession: retired in the end of 2017 from the position of Managing director of Finland Masters Athletics
Working history: from the year 1983 in different sport associations
Languages: Finnish, Swedish, English, German, Russia
- a long period of recreational sports: jogging, hiking, paddling, skiing
- organizing work in a many different sport events: National Championships in track andfield, skiing, student sport, hiking, snow sculpture
- a volunteer in 1st IAAF World Championships 1983 and 2005, European Championships1994 and 2012 held in Helsinki
- a team manager of Finland Masters National Team since 2002 in WMA, EMA and NordicChampionships
- a member of Nordic Masters Committee since 2002
- an Executive vice-president of EVAA 2006-2010
- an Executive vice-president of WMA 2009-2013
- a technical advisor of WMACS 2009 in Lahti
- a member of local Sport Club Helsingin Kisa-Veikot
Hobbies: sport, gymnastic, theatre, summer cottage
Ambitions of the work of WMA
- to continue the organisational work of WMA according to the new constitution
- to develop World Championships and good cooperation with IAAF
- to make our master sport movement more well known and accepted in a society and sportclubs
- to give and to push more effort to the items of life long sport
- to make good governance policy in all WMA level