International Masters Games versus World Masters Athletics

From the WMA President Torsten Carlius

So another month has passed and we are coming closer to our XVth WMA World Masters Championships Stadia in Carolina, PUR, on July 1-13. However, before then IMGA (International Masters Games Association) will also have its General Assembly in Madrid on May 12 which gives me the opportunity to explain our re-lation to IMGA and the World Masters Games an issue that I have been asked now by several people after my election on the IMGA Board of Governors.

Let me first of all state that WMA and IMGA are two independent world sports associations that both organize competitions for masters with the difference that WMA - like other international sports associations (ISFs) is the one that sets the rules for its sport. IMGA is a body that organizes World Masters Games but only on conditions given by the ISFs. IMGA has to-day about 15 core member sports one of which is track and field. WMA acts as the IMGA Affiliate for track and field but the member is IAAF that trusts WMA with the representation and we act here in the same way as IAAF acts within the International Olympic Commit-tee (IOC).

As the new WAVA President I took a great interest in the IMGA activities in Port- land in1998 and went there with the ambition to sit down with the IMGA Board of Governors to explain our position. I had several ideas on how IMGA should be changed, i.e.
- IMGA must be recognized by the IOC
- our WMA rules must be used at the World Masters Games
- there must be a Technical Delegate for each sport at the World Masters
Games appointed by the respective ISF
- there must be drug tests at the World Masters Games
- the entry procedure must be in line with our procedure for World Masters
Moreover there was a wish from IMGA that we would organize our WMA World Masters Championships Stadia within the World Masters Games every four years.

I had a meeting in Portland with the IMGA Board of Governors and explained our views. Now, four years later, I can just see that we have got confirmation for most of our requirements. IMGA is recognized by IOC as world body for masters actvi-ties, each sport participating at the World Masters Games in Melbourne was offered to appoint a Technical Delegate paid by the LOC, we had drug tests in Melbourne and our WMA/IAAF rules were respected. However, the entry proce-dure is still not the one we want to have as there is no validation by our Affiliates. Anyone can enter without any check if he or she can participate (we had one case in Melbourne with disqualification as the athlete was not validated) and the entry fees are not adapted for individual sports but overall I feel that we have gained a hearing for our wishes. This was still stronger underlined now in the date discussions for the next World Masters Games in Edmonton in 2005 when the IMGA President clearly stated at the IMGA General Assembly in Colorado Springs last November that IMGA cannot and shall not do anything that is not in line with the interest of its Affiliates and by this statement we have finally gained the situation we have asked for. The dates for the World Masters Games in Edmonton were also decided with respect to our programme.

The final issue remains, i.e. can our WMA World Masters Championships be part of the World Masters Games. If I had got that question some years ago I think I would have answered that we should perhaps make a test and base our decision upon this test. To-day my answer would be no. We cannot have our WMA World Masters Championships within the World Masters Games on the same reasons as IAAF cannot have its World Championships within the Olympic Games. Our WMA World Championships have now grown so much that it is impossible to integrate them into the World Masters Games. However, it is a fact that we have the World Maters Games and we must find a way to live together and have a coordination of dates between us. This will be on our Council agenda at the next meeting in Carolina and I am sure we will find a way to solve this issue too.

WMA 2002
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