18 October 2019

The XXIV General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) came to a close with the annual awards ceremony in Doha, Qatar on 17 October.

Earlier in the day, European Olympic Committees (EOC) President Janez Kocijančič delivered his report on the EOC’s 2019 activities, highlighting the very important year for the continent of Europe from a sports perspective, with the second edition of the European Games, Winter and Summer European Youth Olympic Festivals, and the Games of the Small States of Europe all successfully held during the year.

Commenting on the European Games, Kocijančič said: “The event was a success beyond all expectations. Despite the highly crowded European sports calendar, our premier event has made its mark again, positioning itself as a major sports experience in the run-up to the Olympic Games, confirming its role as an event that strengthens Europe’s performance at the Olympic Games.”

He stressed that continental Games need to be qualifiers for Olympic Games as indicated in Agenda 2020.

EOC’s first spokesperson also underlined how sport has the power to unite people, citing the example of Sarajevo and East Sarajevo, where the EOC organized this year’s winter European Youth Olympic Festival, saying: “the EOC took sport back to the Olympic city of Sarajevo 35 years after the historic winter Olympics of 1984 in a land that since then had spiraled into decades of terrible and acrimonious conflict, and brought the people of this war-torn land together in peace and friendship. This was exemplified by the Opening Ceremony, which saw a full house of 30,000 people and a further 10,000 were outside because they couldn’t get in.

“The message is clear, these people are fed-up with conflict and tensions and want to embrace the way shown by sport, the way of peace and friendship.”

He then reiterated how the continent of Europe dominates the medal charts at Olympics, saying how this is for the most part thanks to the European Model of Sport. A model based on grass roots sport and volunteering, which defends sport from the contamination of commercialization. Finally, he thanked all of the European National Olympic Committees (ENOCs) for their continued support and engagement with the activities of the EOC.

As part of an initiative from ANOC to have more female representation from all continents attending its General Assembly, the European delegation has been bolstered by the addition of five women, who are all playing an active role in the work of their respective ENOCs: Dejana PLANINCIC (Bosnia & Herzegovina – NOC International Relations & Projects Manager), Irene CANINI (San Marino – Vice-President of Sammarinese Gymnastics Federation), Kim GEVAERT (Belgium – Olympic Champion), Lotte BÜCHER (Denmark – NOC Board Member), and Rumiana DINEVA (Bulgaria – NOC Head of International Relations).

Following the General Assembly, the delegates were able to celebrate some of the best sporting achievements of the year during the awards gala. A special award this year was for the best athletes from the 2nd European Games who were selected by an ANOC Jury.

The winners were Mauro NESPOLI (Italy – Archery), who clinched 1 gold 1 bronze at Minsk 2019, and Dina AVERINA (Russia – Rhythmic Gymnastics) who won three golds, one silver and one bronze at Minsk 2019.

“The European Games in Minsk were a big part of my year, where I reached a very good result, Averina commented. “The competition in Minsk gave me confidence and it will encourage me for Tokyo 2020.”

For the full list of award winners, please visit the ANOC website

The attention of the ENOCs will now switch to the EOC General Assembly taking place in Warsaw on 25 and 26 October.

©️ Getty Images for ANOC