The six-day event will see a customarily packed schedule of high-level meetings, plenary discussions and networking sessions take place in and around the Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Centre, as the sporting world descends on the Thai capital under the auspices of SportAccord for the first time.
As day one’s proceedings began with council meetings for senior members of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) and their winter counterparts, the AIOWF, SportsPro sat down for a brief chat with Weerasak Kowsurat, Thailand’s minister for tourism and sports, to find out what hosting the latest edition of SportAccord means for the country, and how the Thai government is working to position Thailand at the forefront of Asia’s sporting moment.
SportsPro: What has been the appeal for Thailand of staging SportAccord 2018?
WK: To host an event like this, not only do we benefit from having a nice activity happening in town, but also it’s bringing sport’s big boys to see the country for themselves and see the people. It is always the people of countries who are more attractive than anything else. With firsthand experience, seeing not only facilities but the people – going outside into the city – [the attendees] see for themselves why we are more visited by international visitors each year and we have been successfully hosting not only normal events but also sporting events in Thailand – from north to south, from east to west.
It is the harmonisation of people who are living here with the international world that we have received all kinds of new incoming activity. So being a part, and being the host, of this international sporting event is not about competition – it is about coordination because everyone is flying in from different parts of the world to be here to discuss and to cooperate.
This will help the visitors in SportAccord to have full confidence of who we are from this part of the world – that’s one thing. And the other thing is we give opportunities for the local sporting administrators – like clubs, like the associations of all kinds of sports – to get a chance to be part of the hosting, to get the president of sports federations acquainted and also get our people to learn from those international big boys of how they run their world.
So it’s going to be uplifting for us and make us feel part of the standard that we want to do. It’s one thing that we, in the country, get to discuss about internationalisation and standardisation to our people, but it’s another when they get to listen to the man in the field talking about how they came about. So this is really beneficial, and money can’t buy this. You can’t just spend money and get all of these 1,500 big boys to come into the city at the same time, unless SportAccord is in town.
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