Dear Masters Athletes, Officials, Volunteers, Members and Regions,
I had the privilege of working and speaking with many of the LOC staff and volunteers at our recent Championship in Tampere. So many were passionate and dedicated to making this Championship exceptional. Please join me in thanking them and the WMA team for everything they did especially under extraordinary circumstances.
We are very grateful to the Tampere LOC for agreeing to host our Championship after Toronto2020 had to regretfully cancel due to COVID. The LOC had much less preparation time than usual. The LOC and WMA had, like most companies and organizations, to learn how to adjust to overcome COVID challenges, like supply chain issues and availability of volunteers (virtually everyone involved with our Championships is one), as they arose. We got into routines, like shifting volunteer responsibilities each day to fill gaps caused by dozens not being able to come, by the end of the Championship.
WMA Championships are an amazing and special experience for the vast majority of participants – this Championship is no different. That, however, is not good enough for us. We are committed to providing an exceptional Masters Championship for all participants. Masters Athletics is a special mix of camaraderie and competition. We strongly feel that we need to improve documents, policies and practices to ensure that the competition environment is exceptional.
One positive that comes from this experience is WMA has identified areas we can improve that will ensure the competition experience we expect to provide for all athletes. We continuously improve using post meeting assessments and personal reflection. I, for example, realized that I could communicate clearer that WMA is committed to helping LOCs excel in providing an exceptional competitive experience for participants. We could have found resolutions to issues quicker if I had convinced the LOC that WMA was there to help in any way needed before the Championship began.
We used our experiences, as the Championship was going, to check whether there would also be issues in WMACI Toruń 2023 or WMAC Göteborg 2024. We are working closely with both LOCs to implement improvements from lessons learned. The plan for Toruń is mostly reusing the proven and very successful plan from 2019 WMACI. We have high confidence in the Toruń team and plan. We also have high confidence in the Göteborg team and our improved communication.
With this confidence, our focus is migrating to enacting permanent improvements that will ensure we and our LOCs deliver Championship level competitions. We are lucky to have Brian Keaveny, outgoing VP of Competition and Alan Bell, Competition Director for most of our Championships over more than 2 decades and incoming VP of Competition, who will use their complementary skills to enact change using their individual and vast network’s collective knowledge and experience. Some of this includes implementing facets of World Athletics’ proven model including changing the role of International Voluntary Officials. They have already identified changes we can make to our Championship Specifications that will make our expectations clearer and therefore improve our Championships.
Frankly, this Championship was exhausting for many of us, including me. Part of the reason it was exhausting was that I and others like me want to get it right and meet our high standards. The documents section of our website has our Championship Guidelines and other relevant information. People interested in what we are progressing should check for updates on these documents. We will also periodically provide updates on important improvement plans.
I wish you and your family the best. Hope to see you in Toruń.