President of ICF For the Future of Fencing Vitaly Logvin tells of how the Fund worked last year.
Vitaly, in 2008 founder of ICF For the Future of Fencing Alisher Usmanov was elected President of the International Fencing Federation (FIE). You said that the Fund’s activities, therefore, radically changed. Please tell us about those changes and what remained as it was.
The Fund, as before, is totally oriented towards the accomplishment of its mission – development of fencing all over the world. As a rule, previously we prepared our work plans, forms and methods for providing charity support to national federations independently. Since 2009, the Fund has been tying up its operations with the FIE’s plans. Last year this work continued. In 2012, the milestone event was FIE President Alisher Usmanov’s decision to contribute USD 10 million to ICF For the Future of Fencing for setting up a Specialized Endowment Fund to Support Veteran Fencing, which was officially registered. The revenue from investment will annually be used to support fencing veterans.
As directed by Mr. Usmanov and using his financial resources, ICF For the Future of Fencing provided financial support for the FIE on an ongoing basis throughout 2012. A total of about USD 6 million was allocated for this purpose.
The FIE’s and the Fund’s efforts aimed at expanding the fencing geography and strengthening positions of national federations bore fruit in the London Olympics. Would you elaborate on that please?
The 2012 Olympic Games in London proved that apart from the widening of the fencing geography, the quality of training athletes have greatly improved worldwide. In London 2012, fencers competed for a total of 10 sets of awards, viz. 30 medals, which have been won by athletes from 16 countries. This is a really impressive number. On the podium one could see not only renowned fencing champions, but also athletes from such countries as Venezuela, Egypt, Japan and Norway. This testifies to the fact that 146 NFs – FIE members – are functioning indeed, not just on paper as it was previously in the FIE. A total of USD 285,745 was allocated by the Fund in 2012 for prizes awarded to medalists in World/European Championships and World Cup events.
One of the Fund’s line of activities is assistance rendered to continental fencing confederations. To accomplish this task, the Fund has established its representative offices in Asia, America and Africa.
Last year, a total of USD 328,975 was earmarked for confederations to organize international competitions, congresses, general assemblies, international seminars/workshops, training camps, video refereeing, etc. (USD 184,000 – EFC, USD 80,000 – African Confederation, and USD 64,975 – Pan-American Confederation).
We understand that in order to develop international fencing, we should, first of all, provide appropriate conditions, equip fencing halls, provide necessary materials for athletes and coaches, and organize seminars for coaches and fencers, with renowned fencing masters all over the globe sharing their knowledge with beginner athletes. It is with this in mind that the Fund provides targeted assistance directly to national fencing federations in different countries. In doing so, we try to meet their specific requirements. We consider their requests and define major projects. In 2012, the Fund allocated USD 223,477 to the Uzbekistan Federation for the upgrade and renovation of the fencing hall in the Pakhtakor stadium, purchase of fencing weapons and gear, and also for the organization of the 1st Central Asian Championships (epee) in Tashkent. Currently, we are exploring the possibility for setting up, in this hall, a center for training fencers, coaches and referees from the Asian continent. We have compensated the Italian Federation for their expenses in the amount of USD 168,000 incurred for the organization of the World Championships in Catania, Sicily, and helped the Guild of Saint-Michael, Belgium, in the organization of World Cup fencing competitions, with USD 8,400 granted to them. The Fund has earmarked a total of USD 164,396 for helping 42 NFs purchase fencing materials and equipment, pay fees and obtain licenses, and take part in competitions and training camps.
The FIE is preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2013. Will ICF For the Future of Fencing participate in this major event of the sports world?
Yes, of course, we will. The Fund will be directly involved. Celebrations will be held in Paris. In 2012, the Fund already allocated USD 51,425 to set up a fencing museum within the framework of the Centennial Program, with a total of up to
5 million Euros likely to be allocated by the Fund to mark this event.
Late last year, Moscow hosted a FIE Elective Congress that gathered representatives from practically all NFs. No doubt the Fund did its part to organize this event.
The Fund has allocated USD 559,258 to prepare and conduct this event. Apart from this, USD 23,440 have been directed towards the organization of an international meeting of NF presidents in Moscow during the Cadet and Junior World Championships.
Development of Palalympic fencing in Russia has always been among the Fund’s priorities. I wonder whether this work bore fruit.
Paralympic fencing started to develop in Russia in 2005 with the active support of the Fund. Over the short period of time, Russian wheelchair athletes have gained universal recognition. Whereas in 2008 Russian Paralympic athletes won 5 Olympic licenses, in 2012 they fenced in all disciplines of the London Paralympic Games program due to their successful performance in World and European Championships. Currently, wheelchair athletes are financially supported by governmental entities; this notwithstanding, the Fund also helps them. Last year the Fund allocated USD 50,000 for this purpose.
You have cited great numbers the Fund spends on developing world fencing. Apart from this, what challenges face the FIE and the Fund for the coming 4-year period in the run-up to the Rio 2016 Olympics?
One of our major tasks is, as before, getting all the 12 disciplines of modern fencing included in the Olympic program. This decision, however, lies with the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee. Great emphasis will be placed on promotion of fencing, enhancement of its visibility and improvement of TV on-line coverage of major sport events, an agreement with Eurosport being reached to this effect. To make fencing more understandable for the public at large and more attractive for advertisers and sponsors, it is necessary that rules be changed. Also, we should ensure that not only world and continental championships, but also World Cup events are shown to numerous audiences, including both fencers and fans. Even this year one will be able to watch World Cup fencing bouts on the Internet.
We have a new line of activities – children’s recreational fencing. We have placed an order for making some prototypes of special-purpose masks, foils, epees and costumes featuring elements of electronic games, light and sound effects. The FIE and the Fund have a common plan to introduce this type of fencing as a means of children’s education and development in kindergartens and lower grades of regular schools in all continents. This project, once implemented, will bring thousands of new fencers, first, to NFs and eventually to the FIE. And, of course, we will continue our principal work for creating all necessary conditions to develop our favorite sport worldwide.