Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Savate in International Olympic Committee

Celebrating a quarter century with the lord of the rings

Written by Marc Fion (translated by Julie)

To celebrate its quarter century, the International Savate Federation (FISav) showed its determination to prepare the ground for a more glorious future. A few days before the celebration of its 25th anniversary, March 23rd, a delegation of around fifteen members of the Federation met in Lausanne (Switzerland). Jacques Rogge, the master of Olympism, welcomed this cosmopolitan group to his castle next to the IOC house of glass.

It was Alexander Walnier, the general secretary of FISav, who revealed the intentions of this sport to Jacques Rogge, who he had had the occasion to mix with during two Olympiades on the board of directors of the Belgian committee. He said that today we are closing the first page of hard work “not only of technical development, but also of the understanding of the philosophy of this exceptional sport that we extol."

He went on to describe the next essential issue which faces savate on 30th April. In Dubai, at the General Assembly of SportAccord, Savate seeks recognition in the family of international federations and the opening of the way to acceptance within the Olympic family.


"Savate is in the hands of a good team today and will grow with your presence among us", Alexander Walnier explained to a very attentive Jacques Rogge. He followed with agreement with the President’s creed: to fight against the blights of modern sport. He referred to doping and the problem of “recognition at all costs” that is prevalent in so many environments. He proclaimed the will of the boxing family to fight criminals and sport outcasts that play with the health of athletes, scorn ethics, and idealize money.

Alexander Walnier finished by praising the initiatives of the president of the IOC (notably, the first Olympic Games for youth in Singapore in August). He underlined "the innate sense of ethics and of respect" he saw in the President that generate the respect and admiration of all.

Jacques Rogge applauded the resolute speech of FISav, recalling the culture of Savate that Prince Alexandre of Mérode, "great advocate of the cause", had earlier instilled in him. He congratulated the members of the Federation for their entry into international university sport and for their will to grow again at the end of the congress of Dubai. "Your recognition goes through the universalism that you succeed in conferring to your discipline." Recalling his close and determined following of the values described by Alexander Walnier in his preliminary speech, he described his concern for education, his refusal of a capitalism with perverse tendencies and too marked an ideology, his constant promotion of ethics in all his works. Before departing the following hour for Singapore, the President again mentioned the importance of good governance and of a good structure within a federation. "The IOC is open to you... Keep your enthusiasm and put it to the service of your beautiful cause."


Gilles Le Duigou, President of FISav, was given an Olympic gift by President Rogge. In turn Alain Piette, member of the executive committee, presented a plaque in recognition of the work accomplished by the late Prince Alexandre of Mérode, former member of the Belgian Federation of Savate, former Vice-President of the IOC and President of the medical commission of the IOC for several years.

Jacques Rogge promised to pass this on to his family.


In addition to those mentioned earlier, the following FISav members also met with the President of the IOC: Joël Dhumez, Vice-President of FISav; Jean-Paul Coutelier, treasurer; Jean-Marie Rousseau, 1st President; Ubaldo Paschini, former representative of Italy on the Board of Directors; Michel Roger, President for ten years; Julie Gabriel (Great Britain), Gerhard Schmitt (Germany), Parfait Rakotonindriana (Madagascar), Serguey Boulanov (Russia), Miodrag Rakic (Serbia) and Alfredo Lallo (Italy), all members of the Board of Directors. Shortly after, the first flag of FISav was presented to the Olympic Museum where Savate hopes, one day, to be on show in a prestigious window.

This occasion was not just about praising the progress made since the federation began. Equally, it was about a song of hope for the next decades where it will need to call on the strength of all in their chosen areas of work. It is only in this way that Savate will develop its many competitions. The reward will be found in making full use of skills and in the respect of all.

Each can take their road. Some may work on bringing new technical information to the attention of the Board of Directors, others may set off again on missions to Iran or China while passing through Cameroon or Latin America.

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