Alessando DiCato was appointed by the International Sport Climbing Federation (IFSC) as its Competition Manager for The World Games 2021 in Birmingham, Alabama, 15-25 July 2021. In an interview he describes the lessons he learned at the first Competition Manager Meeting in the host city in October.
How did you experience the Competition Manager Meeting?
Alessandro DiCato: It was my first Competition Managers Meeting, so I don’t have any benchmarks. After the two days here in Birmingham I can say that the meeting offered great opportunities for me in more than one aspect. Firstly, it created the feeling of being together as a team. The federations work together with the Birmingham organisers and the IWGA. We are really striving to achieve a common goal, the success of The World Games in 2021.
What were the other aspects?
Alessandro DiCato: Secondly, it was important for me that I got definitions of the different roles that people play. We listened to presentations from different experts. It was really helpful to learn who the people in charge of communication of our sports are. I now understand which kind of topic I have to refer to the Birmingham people, and which kind of question I should refer to the IWGA.
What else was important for you?
Alessandro DiCato: We were given general information and introductory material about public relations, sponsorship and TV. I will report on these to my federation and we can discuss them internally. It was also valuable for me to have individual discussions with the people in charge, and to visit the proposed venue at Railroad Park. This morning I had the opportunity to talk with Steve Mistrot, who is responsible for the technical aspects for our competition. Combining these things, that is the general information and the more specific items for our sports, was the right approach. It was good to be here. I got a good impression of the city. It was really helpful to know where The World Games will actually take place.
How do you gauge the state of preparations?
Alessandro DiCato: This first Competition Manager Meeting, three years prior to the event, left me under the impression that we are already well on track. There are many things which the local organisers and the IWGA have already discussed or anticipated. I assume that at the second meeting we will get a little more detail about the more technical aspects.
How would you describe your own role within this meeting?
Alessandro DiCato: I am very happy to be involved in the preparation of this multi-sport event. I hope to be able to bring the knowledge of my sport to help towards the success of the event in general. And I am looking forward to implementing the requirements of our federation into the set-up for the venue, and how to run the competition. I want to contribute to an outstanding event, not only for the athletes but also for the different audiences. This means both spectators on site and the fans all over the world.
Is there one special sentence you want to take with you?
Alessandro DiCato: Within their presentations the experts mentioned one phrase quite often: “It’s a win-win situation.” The other phrase I frequently heard was this one: “This is in both our interests.” It delivered the impression that we are all working towards the same goal. Of course, we are partners with different backgrounds and ideas: the BOC, the IWGA and we as federations. Nevertheless, it is the cooperation which matters and pays off for all of us. I also keep in mind the slogan of the event: “Competing globally, uniting locally.” I think this makes sense for the local organisers.
What are you impressions of the local organisers in general?
Alessandro DiCato: As I have said, it was my first Competition Manager Meeting, so I cannot really compare. But what I experienced during those two days was this: I can see a really well-organised team. Everybody is clear about their responsibilities. They look like a strong team because they like each other; the staff members are able to work with each other in a good way. I am sure they are on the right track to prepare a great edition of The World Games in 2021.
What are the goals for your sport at The World Games?
Alessandro DiCato: Actually, there are multiple goals that we hope will be achieved at The World Games. Firstly, we would like to showcase our sport in the United States of America, which is an important nation not only for our sport. I hope the event ends up supporting the local sports climbing community here and the national federation as well. We would like to get them involved in the Games, and to get maximum benefit from this great opportunity.
And of course we want to showcase sport climbing to a worldwide audience, with the Games being accessible all around the world thanks to the marketing efforts of IWGA. We are really happy to present our three disciplines: lead, speed and bouldering. It’s a complete package, and we will be able to present the best athletes. Don’t forget it’s a great multi-sport event. This means that we want to attract as many fans as possible. Maybe, fans from other sports that will be here will take the opportunity to watch our competitions, and will fall in love with sport climbing!
Have you got a feeling of what it means to be part of a multi-sports event?
Alessandro DiCato: Certainly. The local organisers did a good job. This included wayside opportunities such as watching a pre-season basketball match or practising golf on the driving range. We found the opportunity to establish a good relationship with the other federations which are involved in The World Games 2021 in an informal way. What was stated very clearly was: having our sport on the programme of The World Games demands some compromise, but delivers an outstanding opportunity for our sport as well.
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 15-25 July 2021. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in the Games.