25 Jahre WAVA/WMA
In diesen Tagen feiert die WMA (World Masters Athletics) ihren 25. Geburtstag. Ein Jubiläum, auf das mit Stolz geschaut werden kann.Am 09. August 1977 wurde die WAVA (World Association of Veteran Athletes), seit 2001 WMA, in Gothenburg/SWE gegründet und hat seit diesem Zeitpunkt eine Senioren-Leichtathletik-Bewegung einge-leitet, die im Sport ihresgleichen sucht.
Wurden erstmals 1975 Senioren-Weltmeisterschaften in Toronto/CAN ausgetragen, so ist die Palette weiterer Austragungsorte der Weltmeisterschaften sehr groß. Städte wie Rom/ITA, Hannover/GER, Mel-bourne/AUS, Eugene/USA, Turku/FIN, Miyazaki/JPN, Durban/RSA, Gateshead/GB bis hin zu Caroli-na/PUR im nächsten Jahr waren (und werden) Austragungsstätte für Meisterschaften der WAVA/WMA.
Das Meisterschaftsprogramm wurde im Laufe der Jahre kontinuierlich erweitert. Mit Birmingham/GB, im Jahre 1992, wurden erstmals eigene Straßenlaufmeisterschaften durchgeführt, die in diesem Jahr in Ric-cione/ITA nun schon zum 6: Mal stattfanden. Für das kommende Jahr werden die ersten Weltmeister-schaften im 100 km-Lauf in Taipei/TPE organisiert, und schon 2004 wird es Erweiterungen geben mit den ersten Weltmeisterschaften in der Halle.
Von dieser Stelle ein herzliches "Dankeschön" insbesondere von deutscher Seite all denen, die daran beteiligt waren, solch eine Bewegung für die Senioren-Leichtathletik über all die Jahre wachsen zu lassen.
Nachstehend die Festschrift (in Englisch) des Präsidenten der WMA, Torsten Carlius/SWE
WAVA/WMA 25 YEARS JUBILEE
WMA President Torsten Carlius
Yes, it is actually true. On August 9 this year our dear WAVA/WMA celebrates its 25 years birthday and it can be a good reason to look back at those dedicated and fore-sighted people who took the bold step in 1977 to found a world organization for veterans/ masters athletics. There were some enthusiastic pioneers (David and Helen Pain among them) already after the Olympic Games in Munich, GER, in 1972 and we owe them great gratitude for their inspiration and visions. After the first truly international veteran track and field meet in London they inspired many more and laid the ground for an almost unbelievable develop-ment.
Don Farquharson, CAN, who headed the Canadian Masters took the initiative to invite to the first World Veterans Championships in Toronto in 1975. With athletes representing 32 countries these Champion-ships were a great success. During the Championships there was also a meeting to discuss the formation of a world body for veterans athletics. An interim committee was set up to study the possibilities - a com-mittee that was chaired by Jack Fitzgerald, GBR, with Don Farquharson, CAN, as Secretary and Treas-urer and with David Pain, USA, Wal Sheppard, AUS, Maeve Kyle, NIR, Jacques Serruys, BEL, Bob Fine, USA, Ian Hume, CAN, and Konrad Hernelind, SWE, as members.
From these first World Championships it also worth mentioning that they inspired Cesare Beccalli, ITA, to invite to the first European Veterans Championships in Viareggio, ITA, in 1978 where the European Vet-erans Athletic Association (EVAA) was founded as the first Regional Association.
However, the attempts in Toronto were not the first to build a veterans athletic movement. Already in 1968 the "Interessen-Gemeinschaft Alterer Langstreckenläufer" (IGAL) was founded in the Netherlands with Arthur Lambert, Meinrad Nagelle, Dr Van Anken and Jacques Serruys as the pioneers. This organization had a successful life but slowly it became evident that two world bodies for veterans athletics was one too many and in 1988 IGAL joined WAVA that hereafter has been the undisputed world body for veter-ans/masters athletics.
Gothenburg, SWE, bid and was awarded the second World Veterans Athletic Championships that were organized on August 8-13, in 1977 and on the second day of the Championships,i.e. August 9, WAVA was founded at the first General Assembly. Don Farquharson, CAN, was elected the first WAVA President and the Executive was composed by him plus Jacques Serruys, BEL, Vice President, Roland Jerneryd, SWE, Secretary, Harm Hendricks, NED, Treasurer, and Hazel Rider, GBR, Women's Representative. The Council was enlarged with six Regional Representatives, i.e. Danie Burger, RSA, for Africa, Hideo Okada, JPN, for Asia, Cesare Beccalli, ITA, for Europe, Bob Fine, USA, for North and Central America and the Caribbean, Wal Sheppard, AUS for Oceania and José Tejeiro Santos, VEN, for South America.
August 9, 1977, was a historic day for veterans/masters athletics. IAAF took a certain interest in the Championships in Gothenburg as the IAAF President Adrian Paulen, BEL, attended the Championships and his personal interest led to a decision by IAAF to assign the administration and organization of athlet-ics for women 35 years and over and men 40 years and over to WAVA. The two bodies worked for some years independently of each other but at the end of the eighties and beginning of the nineties there were discussions within IAAF that led up to the formation of a Veterans' Committee within IAAF - a committee that now serves as a very useful liaison link between WMA and IAAF.
I doubt that the persons who took the historic decision in Gothenburg in 1977 had any idea of what waited ahead and how their new-born baby would grow up. I am sure that none could imagine the enormous development and extension masters athletics have to-day. The 2.750 athletes in Gothenburg representing some 30 countries have more than doubled to about 6.000 athletes and the number of WMA Affiliates has grown to about 130 countries. We have to-day an active world organization with Stadia and Non-Stadia World Championships and will hopefully add World Indoors Championships in Puerto Rico the next year. WMA has now also six Regional Association that all do a very good and important job. Europe has a com-plete programme with Stadia, Non-Stadia and Indoors Championships and in Asia we have seen the first Non-Stadia Championships. There is a strong desire all over the world to do more and to do it together within our great family.
I just thought it could be worthwhile to write a little of our history. It is so easy to forget what has happened in the past but what we do now and what we will do in the future always has a strong relation to the history and how we have developed. Those who founded WAVA in 1977 took a bold step - now it is we who shall see to it that our movement has a future and will grow still stronger. I am sure we will succeed.