Following some concern about the direction of the IAAF Race Walking Committee and the views of the Oceania representative on the IAAF Race Walking Committee the President of RWA asked Jane Saville to clarify her position in relation to the future directions of the Committee and her personal views. Her response follows:
Thank you for the opportunity to clarify my position on Race Walking.
As the Oceania representative within the Race Walking Committee (RWC) my goal is to ensure the growth and prosperity of Race Walking and to support the overall interests of our discipline, not only within our Area but throughout all IAAF areas and countries.
As the world changes, the sports market has become more competitive! More sports are vying for athletes, officials, coaches, sponsors, fans and media and we must address this within our discipline and of course in athletics in general.
I want to ensure there is a future for race walking at both grassroots and elite competition. To do this we must look at our discipline objectively and outline the challenges we face. This will enable us to work on innovative ways to make it more attractive in an ever-changing world.
We are working with the IAAF to support its overall strategic direction in an era that demands that the sport evaluates all aspects of its operations and delivery to ensure that it remains the prime Olympic Sport and is universal in its appeal. We believe that this is the most effective way to secure a sustainable future for the discipline.
I support gender equality in all facets of life, including race walking. As I wrote in my report this year to Oceania, National and Area Championships for women’s 50km should be a part of strategic development of the event that will promote depth and quality. This was the plan of the RWC. In light of recent events, we are evaluating several scenarios that would further promote equality of opportunity, and will ensure that any future direction is in alignment with legal advice provided to us.
I support the investigation of technology to reduce objectivity in judging. In my capacity as a member of the IAAF RWC, I recently attended a successful test of the training insole to detect loss of contact being developed by the Catalunya Polytechnic University in Barcelona.
We must look at where Race Walking is in the big picture of the sports world and recognise its strengths and weaknesses and come up with a plan to increase participation, attract sponsorship and fans. The RWC and I want to work with all stakeholders to adapt in this competitive environment.
The members of the RWC do not profess to have all the answers but are willing to listen and try new approaches. We are committed to Race Walking and the race walkers of today and the future.
Now is not the time for infighting within our discipline. Instead, we must work together for the best outcome for Race Walking.
Please forward to me the ideas and suggestions that the RWA members have generated that will help to develop the discipline at the national and/or international level so that I can share them with other members of the IAAF RWC. I also have some ideas for Australia that I would like to discuss with you at a convenient time.
As always, I am available for a constructive discussion about Race Walking, either via email or Skype.