IOC chief Thomas Bach admires Sri Lanka’s SILK Sports Award | Sunday Observer

IOC chief Thomas Bach admires Sri Lanka’s SILK Sports Award

17 October, 2021
IOC president Thomas Bach with the SILK Sports Award-Chairman SPORTSINFO, Thilan Rangana
IOC president Thomas Bach with the SILK Sports Award-Chairman SPORTSINFO, Thilan Rangana

Sri Lanka’s foremost innovative and energetic sports promoter, Thilan Rangana, Chairman of SPORTSINFO has just received a personal communique from the IOC President Thomas Bach in appreciation of the International SILK Sports Award for 2020 bestowed to him. Bach has shared that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games brought the people of the world together, united by emotion, sharing moments of joy and inspiration whilst stating that the gesture deeply touched him.

Thomas Bach who serves as the current President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a lawyer in profession, a former Olympic fencer and an Olympic Gold Medalist. Also, Bach is the first ever Olympic Champion to be elected President of the IOC.

As the president of the IOC, he is the head of the Executive Board that assumes the general overall responsibility for the administration of the IOC and the management of its affairs. The IOC Executive Board consists of the president, four vice-presidents and ten other IOC members; all of the board members are elected by the IOC Session, using a secret ballot, by a majority vote.

The IOC organizes the modern Olympic Games, held every two years, alternating summer and winter Games (every four years). The IOC president holds the office for two terms of four years, renewable once for another term, so would expect to lead the organization of at least two Summer Olympic Games and two Winter Olympic Games. If re-elected, the president is expected to lead through three of each season Olympics.

Thomas Bach was awarded the prestigious International SILK Sports Award for his ‘Vision to secure Humanity and Unity amongst all Diversity through Sport’ amidst all the challenges of the coronavirus epidemic across the world. He becomes the first IOC President to receive any form of an award from Sri Lanka and has been pleased to forward a historical photo with the award.

He is the recipient of the award, ‘Seoul Peace Prize’ from the Republic of Korea. Besides, the state honours bestowed on him include Grand Cross of the Order of the Phoenix by Greece, Blue Dragon of the Order of Sports Merit by South Korea and Grand Cordon of the Order of Merit by Tunisia.

He has also been conferred Doctorate honoris causa by the Universidad Catolica de Murcia of Spain and Honorary Doctorate from the University of Tsukuba of Japan.

Inspiring Growth of SPORTSINFO

SPORTSINFO is the premier sports promotion company in Sri Lanka started in 2014 with the launching of the sports news web;

In 2015, SPORTSINFO organized and hosted the inaugural ‘SILK Sports Awards’ ceremony. It is now an annual event recognized as an ambitious step to further validate the significance of contributions by sporting personalities of Sri Lanka to uplift sports in numerous ways.

It is the first ever sport event of such magnitude hosted in the history of Sri Lanka. Now, the SILK Sports Awards is regarded as Sri Lanka’s foremost sporting event that tributes the notable contributions to sports by the sports fraternity across the world.

Besides, the visionary leadership of Thilan Rangana contributed in no small way towards the introduction and implementation of the extraordinary concept of ‘SPORTEX – Sri Lanka’s First National Sports Exhibition in 2015’, which has become one of the best sports brands in Sri Lanka.

Fittingly, in recognition of the significant contributions towards promotion of sports, SPORTSINFO was selected as the runners up under the category of ‘Most Outstanding Sports Promoter and Sponsor of the Year’ at the Presidential Sports Awards in 2015.

A year later, SPORTSINFO was awarded for the ‘Most Outstanding Sports Promoter and Sponsor of the Year – Bronze Award’ and the ‘Most Outstanding Sports Electronic Production of the Year – Runners Up’ at the Presidential Sports Awards 2016, in recognition of the sporting excellence, achievements and in appreciation of the dedicated services and determined commitments.

To showcase his compassion towards the local community, Thilan Rangana formed the ‘SILK Sports for Children Foundation’ in 2016.

It is totally committed to improve the quality of the lives of children of all ages that fall below the poverty level by equipping them with sports and education facilities.

SILK Foundation could boast of inspirational sporting figures who have championed the cause in their respective spheres and are spearheading the numerous campaigns launched to raise awareness amongst the needy of the struggles faced by these children.

Amidst such notable feats to his credit, Thilan Rangana stepped up to launch ‘The Cricket Inspiration Gamini Dissanayake Lecture’ in 2018.

It is aimed to boost the mindset of emerging Cricketers in Sri Lanka and promote the sport to greater heights.

Rangana’s Role with Laureus Awards

Thilan Rangana, Chairman of SPORTSINFO, has been part of the renowned Laureus World Sports Award’s respected panel for a record five successive years. He has been bestowed this rare honour to select the world’s Best Sport Personalities in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

The Laureus World Sports Awards, celebrates the most noteworthy men and women in the world of sports along with their unique achievements in the previous calendar year. The main awards are Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, Laureus World Team of the Year, Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year and Laureus World Comeback of the Year.

The Laureus World Sports Academy select the final award winners by secret ballot. The academy is empowered to recognize sports personalities under the discretionary awards such as Lifetime Achievement, Spirit of Sport and Exceptional Achievement.

Ever since its inception in 2000, the annual ceremony has been admired as the most celebrated event in the international sporting calendar.

The Laureus movement had an unforgettable beginning with the legendary Nelson Mandela gracing the inaugural event. He was named the Laureus Patron and was bestowed the singular honour of creating the ‘Laureus Sport for Good.’

Mandela made the event notable with an inspiring speech. Laureus Sport for Good, uses the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage, proving that sport can change the world and now supports over 100 projects in 35 countries around the world including Sri Lanka.

Birth of IOSM in Sri Lanka

The newest brainchild of Thilan Rangana is the formation of the state-of-the-art Institute of Sports Management (IOSM) to produce sports professionals. As the first dedicated professional body for sports management and administration in Sri Lanka, IOSM expands its horizons to a wide range of professional qualifications in sports management and related vocational areas.

It is an innovative and interdisciplinary sports diploma program to teach management skills, encompassing areas such as sports marketing and management, sports advertising and media relations as well as to prepare students to overcome the challenges they are grappled with to progress as successful sports industry professionals.

Thomas Bach’s Rise to IOC Chair

Thomas Bach was born in 1953 in Wurzburg, West Germany. He grew up in Tauberbischofsheim, where he lived with his parents until 1977. Bach earned a doctor of law degree in 1983 from the University of Wurzburg and speaks fluent French, English, Spanish and German.

Bach is a former foil fencer who competed for West Germany. He won a team gold medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics, as well as silver, gold, and bronze team medals at the 1973, 1977 and 1979 world championships, respectively.

Bach served as the President of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), prior to becoming President of the IOC. He resigned as the head of the DOSB on September 16, 2013, having served as President since 2006.

Bach was elected to an eight-year term as IOC President at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires on September 10, 2013. He secured 49 votes in the final round of voting, giving him the majority needed to be elected.

Bach’s successful election came against five candidates, Sergey Bubka, Richard Carrión, Ng Ser Miang, Denis Oswald and Wu Ching-Kuo. Bach officially moved into the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, on September 17, 2013, a week after being elected president.

On November 11, 2017, Bach became the first Olympian formally granted the use of the post-nominal letters “OLY.”

At a meeting of the 137th Session of the IOC on March 10, 2021, Bach was re-elected to an additional four-year term as President. Bach secured 93 of the 94 valid votes during the session which was held virtually.

Following his election as IOC President, Bach stated that he wished to change the Olympic bidding process and make sustainable development a priority. He stated that he felt that the current bidding process asks “too much, too early.” These proposed reforms became known as Olympic Agenda 2020 and all forty reforms were unanimously approved at the 127th IOC Session in Monaco.

Bach presided as President for the first time at the bidding process for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Bids were due in November 2013 and the host city, Beijing was elected to host the 2022 Winter Olympics at the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in July 2015. Lausanne was elected to host the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics during that same session.

During the bidding process for the 2024 Summer Olympics, President Bach proposed a joint awarding of the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympics after several bidders withdrew.

The IOC approved a plan to award the 2024 Olympics to Paris with Los Angeles securing the right to host the 2028 Olympics. Bach presided over these elections at the 131st IOC Session in Lima, Peru. Both cities were unanimously elected.

Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo was elected to host the 2026 Winter Olympics at the 134th IOC Session in Lausanne, Switzerland, home of the IOC.

One of the biggest challenges President Bach has been faced with as IOC President is having to deal with Russia’s state-sponsored doping scandal. This program did begin prior to his presidency, but nonetheless it has become a pressing issue during his tenure. It had been discovered that Russia tampered with the anti-doping lab at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and that the government had sanctioned doping amongst the Russian Olympic athletes for many years.

Speaking at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics, his call to “respect the rules and stay clean” was widely interpreted as a reference to the Russian scandal.

On March 5, 2020, Bloomberg News reported that Bach said “Neither the word ‘cancellation’ nor the word ‘postponement’ was even mentioned” regarding the 2020 Summer Olympics to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic at the IOC’s executive board meeting the previous day.

On March 22, 2020, the IOC announced that within four weeks a decision would be made on whether Tokyo 2020 will be staged as planned or whether a rescheduling is necessary. Later, the IOC announced the unprecedented postponement of the Olympics to 2021.

Forward March of the IOC

In 1894, Baron de Coubertin mustered the required support and Athens was approved to host the 1896 Olympic Games, Greece being the original home of the Olympics at Olympia from 776 to 393 BC. Demetrius Vikelas (Greece) was duly chosen as the first president of the IOC and served from 1894 to 1896.

Pierre de Coubertin (France) was the second president from 1896 to 1925. Despite its initial success, the Olympic Movement faced hard times, as the 1900 Games and 1904 Games were both upstaged by World’s Fairs. The 1906 Intercalated Games revived the momentum, and the Olympic Games grew to become the most important sports event.

De Coubertin created the modern pentathlon for the 1912 Summer Olympics. He also designed the Olympic flag in 1914. He stepped down after the 1924 Summer Olympics but remained honorary president of the IOC until his death in 1937.

Henri de Baillet-Latour (Belgian) led the IOC as the third president from 1925 until his death in 1942. Sigfrid Edström (Sweden) served as the fourth president from 1946 to 1952. He played an important role in reviving the Olympic Movement after the war.

Avery Brundage (USA) was the fifth president from 1952 to 1972. He strongly opposed any form of professionalism in the Olympic Games and may be best remembered for his decision during the Munich 1972 Summer Olympics, to continue the Games following the Black September Palestinian terrorist attack which killed eleven Israeli athletes.

Lord Killanin (Ireland) served as the sixth president from 1972 to 1980. The Olympic Movement experienced a difficult period during his presidency, having to deal with the aftermath of the tragedy at the 1972 Munich Games and the financial failure of the 1976 Montreal Games.

Juan Antonio Samaranch (Spain) was the seventh President from 1980 to 2001. During his term, Samaranch managed to make the Olympic Movement financially healthy. Although the 1984 Summer Olympics were boycotted by the Eastern Bloc countries, a record number of athletes participated in those Games, and the number of nations with an IOC membership and participating increased at every Games during his presidency.

Samaranch also wanted the best athletes to compete in the Olympics, which led to the gradual acceptance of professional athletes. Under Samaranch, the IOC revamped its sponsorship arrangements and new broadcasting deals which brought in much money. It became a tradition for Samaranch, when giving the president’s address at the close of each Summer Olympics, to praise the organizers at each Olympiad for putting on “the best ever” Games.

Jacques Rogge (Belgium) was the eighth president from 2001 to 2013. Under his leadership, the IOC created more possibilities for developing countries to bid for and host the Olympic Games. At the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, Rogge became the first IOC president to stay in the Olympic village, to enjoy closer contact with the athletes. Rogge retired at the end of the 125th IOC Session in Bueno Aires and was appointed to the lifetime position of Honorary President of the IOC.

SILK Sports Awards 2021

Thilan Rangana, Chairman of SPORTSINFO has lined up all the events for 2021/2022 and is determined to go ahead overcoming the setbacks as a result of the coronavirus catastrophe. The SILK Sports Awards, Sri Lanka’s primary sporting event that tributes the notable contributions to sports by the sports fraternity across the world will take place shortly.

The ‘SILK Sports for Children Foundation’ committed to uplift the quality of the lives of children of all ages will establish ‘SILK Sports Academy’ for the children of the families that fall below the poverty level. The SILK Foundation hopes to serve as a national volunteer sports promoter by developing this CSR project as a nursery for our national teams.

‘The Cricket Inspiration Gamini Dissanayake Lecture’ propelled to boost the mindset of emerging cricketers in Sri Lanka and promote the sport to greater heights will also take place.

(The author is the winner of Presidential Awards for Sports and recipient of multiple National Accolades for Academic pursuits. He possesses a PhD, MPhil and double MSc. He can be reached at [email protected])