|From the desk of the President
Juan Angel Calzado
It's Athens in 2004
The decision is in.
On 5th September, I had the pleasure - along with Hon. Secretary General, Els van Breda Vriesman and President of Honour, Etienne Glichitch - of being present in Lausanne, Switzerland when International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch announced that Athens would be the host city for the 2004 Olympic Games. With that, the modern Olympics will again return to the country of their origin.
We congratulate Athens on its accomplishment and wish them every success in facing the many challenges of organising an Olympiad in a modern, demanding world. Much energy will have to be devoted not only to the athletes and competition, but also to marketing, television, media, budgets, logistics and countless other considerations; in effect, running a successful business.
But the athletes must come first. Among the five final candidates, Athens was the only candidate city that did not initially gain the approval of the FIH. However, after fruitful negotiations with the Athens bid committee, the FIH was able to secure from the then potential organisers their commitment to modify their plans to meet FIH requirements.
Now that Athens has been selected, we look forward over the coming years to working co-operatively with the organising committee to make their plans a reality and to help guarantee a successful hockey competition in 2004.
From the FIH's point of view, the selection of Athens presnts a great opportunity to develop hockey in a country where the sport is attempting a rebirth. We intend to nurture it along over the next seven years and beyond.
Finally, our congratulations go out also to the four cities not chosen, who through their extensive efforts demonstrated their commitment to sport and the Olympic ideal.
Thus far, 1997 has been a busy, and I dare say, a successful year for international hockey. Following the Men's World Cup Qualifier in Malaysia, the world's top women's teams met in June in Berlin to contest the 6th Women's Champions Trophy. Australia, already Olympic Gold medallists and World Champions, continued to assert its dominance in women's hockey by capturing gold at the Champions Trophy, for the fourth consecutive time.
Then it was on to the Women's World Cup Qualifier in Harare, Zimbabwe in August. South Africa claimed the tournament championship, but it was an all-important top six finish that mattered more. Congratulations to South Africa, New Zealand, Scotland, India, England and China, who have all qualified for the 1998 World Cup in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
The 3rd Women's Junior World Cup was held in Seongnam, Korea in early September, and there the youth of the Netherlands became world champions. The men's Junior World Cup has just finisehd in Milton Keynes, England with Australia going home the champions. It is now followed closely by the 19th Men's Champions Trophy in Adelaide, Australia this month.
At every tournament, the organisation has been both dedicated and professional. Each has received international television exposure, good press coverage and public support. And the FIH has taken every opportunity to improve the development, organisation and promotion of hockey during these major events by organising coaching courses and umpiring seminars, and holding meetings to consider issues crucial to the future success of our sport.
With such efforts, hockey as a sport will continue to grow in size and stature around the world. I wish to thank those involved, and to offer my continued support and encouragement for the future.
Hockey loses a friend
I was very saddened, as I am sure the entire hockey world was, to learn of the recent death of FIH Hon. Treasurer, Phil Appleyard. He was a dynamic man and a tireless promoter of hockey both in his native England and around the world. His absence will be notable, both in the world of hockey and personally. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly offer my condolences, and on behalf the FIH, to his wife Jill and to his daughter Lynn and her family. Phil will be dearly missed, but certainly no more than by you.