By Masa Takaya on 09/03/10 at 2:06 am
Seven countries from the Arab world gathered in Cairo, Egypt this week for the first Congress of the Arab Triathlon Confederation (ATC). Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Morocco, Oman, Syria and Tunisia were all represented.
Houmam Moualla of Syria was elected as the President of ATC, while Nasser Ersayed, also of Syria, was elected Secretary General. Mohamed Wanis of Egypt was elected the First Vice President, and Ms. Sawsan Ghul of Jordan was elected the Second Vice President.
The key strategic goals established were to support the development of national federations, as well as expanding national coaching and technical officials programmes.
Preparing a marketing programme to increase the position of triathlon amongst the Arab countries is a major priority. The Syrian Triathlon Federation was congratulated for the development work they have done, particularly ensuring that Omar Tayara became the first Arab triathlete to compete in the Olympic Games in Beijing (2008).
Cooperation amongst the Arab countries and ITU, as well as the respective continental confederations (ATU and ASTC) is also a priority.
ITU Sport Development Director, Libby Burrell, outlined the resources available and the way in which ITU can support the development of the sport in North Africa and the Middle East.
Acquiring good bicycles for athletes was identified as the major problem confronting athletes who want to break onto the international scene.
Liesbeth Stoltz, President of the African Triathlon Union (ATU) and Loreen Barnett, Secretary General of ITU were also in attendance, and both congratulated the ATC members for the good work they are doing to develop the sport in the region.