It is hard to believe it has been over a week since the 2018 International Functional Fitness Federation (iF3) World Championships ended. We had a fantastic event in London which showcased some amazing athletic talent from across the globe and proved that the iF3 is making massive steps forward toward our overall goals. The weekend was undeniably an improvement from last year’s World Championships both in size, look and feel, and general execution. However, we still walked away with a list of areas to improve upon for next year. We must appreciate and celebrate our successes but also stay hungry to improve and create a better sport and experience for our athletes.
iF3 Congress Meeting and General Assembly
iF3 Worlds week kicked off on Wednesday October 3rd with the first of two days of Congress and General Assembly Meetings. These meetings allow all National Federation leaders to come together, discuss the direction of the sport, review the goals of the iF3 and the National Federations, and collaborate on new ideas and initiatives. This year’s Congress meeting was highlighted by an in-depth panel discussion on creating a strong National Federation, conversations around starting to include masters and youth competitions at the international level, additional training plans for Technical Officials, and being able to concisely define the sport.
The iF3 also took the opportunity to launch their #reachfortherings initiative during the meeting. The iF3’s #reachfortherings initiative is the ten year strategic plan aimed at achieving IOC recognition for the iF3 in time to make a bid for Olympic program inclusion for the LA 2028 Olympics. The phrase #reachfortherings was chosen for its dual meaning, signifying both our striving for inclusion in the Olympic family and thus the idea of reaching for the Olympic rings as well as the imagery of a functional fitness athlete reaching up to the high rings readying themselves before jumping up to perform movements such as muscle ups. More information about the #reachfortherings initiative and our strategic plan will be available on our website in the coming months.
The Congress Meeting concluded with the announcement of our 2019 Worlds location. After a bidding process which saw 4 countries place bids to host Worlds in 2019, the winner was announced as Malmo, Sweden. We are incredibly excited to head to Malmo in 2019.
Friday October 5th was the opening day of competition for the Individual Medley competitors at Worlds. However, before the competition kicked off all individual and team athletes received antidoping education presented by UK Antidoping. Athlete education on antidoping rules and policies is an important part of creating an antidoping program that is compliant with the World Antidoping Code. Education is also a crucial part of protecting athletes’ rights and making sure they are aware not only of what is and is not against the rules but also what rights they have during the testing process.
Youth Community Event
While the athletes’ were participating in their antidoping education seminar, approximately 100 London school children arrived at the Lee Valley Athletic Centre to learn about and participate in some basic functional fitness exercises and games. FRFUK representative, Tom Haworth, who organized the kids community event summed it up best saying there were, “No Winners, no losers, no medals. Just movement and fun.”
The development of additional programs and events for youth and junior level athletes both at the competitive and recreational level is a focus of the iF3 for 2019.
iF3 Worlds Competition
Athletes from 15 countries and 4 continents registered for this year’s World Championships. This is double the number of countries that participated in 2017 Worlds, and we had triple the number of teams compete in the Team Medley Competition. Friday afternoon the individual medley began with Test 1: Aerobic Capacity. Though a tough event with a 75 minute time cap, the athletes’ tackled it in impressive fashion.
Saturday morning kicked off with the Team Medley Test 1 also in the Aerobic Capacity category. Incredible competition continued throughout the day Saturday and Sunday for both the Individual and Team competitions. The competition concluded Sunday with the crowning of our new World Champions. Athletes from 5 different countries made the podium across the Individual Men, Women, and Team categories. Samantha Briggs and Mitch Adams, both representing the United Kingdom, took the individual titles, while Norway came up clutch in the final test: Team Strategy to defeat Sweden and become the World Champion in the team division.
There were epic performances by the athletes all around. Our technical officials displayed great focus and attention to detail throughout the event, and we had incredible support from our sponsors and vendors all weekend long.
General Improvement Goals for 2019
Even with all the positives and great accomplishments from the weekend, we would be remiss not to mention the lessons learned and the areas we will be working to improve for 2019 Worlds.
We have identified a need for refinement of our internal communication processes while planning Worlds. For 2019 we will be working towards better communications between the Programming Committee, the Technical Officials Committee, and the Worlds Planning Committee by establishing a position designed to oversee and liaise between the groups.
A goal to provide better external communication to our athletes and coaches during the actual competitive event is also on the table for 2019.
The iF3 will also be working to clarify roles and responsibilities for internal iF3 staff and as well as determine which, if any, additional roles may need to be filled during competitive events.
The Technical Officials’ Committee has also informed the iF3 Board of improvements it plans to make for 2019 based off of their observations from Worlds. The Technical Officials Committee specifically is working to build on advancements implemented in 2018. Primarily this includes the recruitment and collaboration of officials across all National Federations. This will include a selection process for the Head Technical Official staff for 2019 Worlds. The Technical Official Committee is seeking the best talent to represent the IF3, along with those willing to participate in the development and growth of technical official training. More information about the selection process will be available in the coming months.
Additionally, the Committee is working to review and revise operational processes and administrative policies to ensure proper alignment with the IF3 mission of fairness and proper governance of the sport of competitive functional fitness. This policy review will cover everything from defining the roles, duties, and expectations for Technical Officials to the score inquiry process. The Technical Official’s Committee is also in the process of compiling data on TO performance, which was collected at Worlds. This data will begin to give the Committee insight into potential additional areas of focus.
Overall, we can say that iF3 Worlds was nothing short of a success. The progress we have shown in just one short year is amazing. We are incredibly proud of all the work our 25 National Federations have put in over the past year and the commitment that they have shown to our vision and goals to develop this sport. Thank you to all the athletes, technical officials, staff, volunteers, spectators, sponsors, and vendors who not only came to Worlds but who support us and our mission all year long. We have a big dream and a long road ahead of us, but we are charging full steam ahead along that road, and with the continued support of this community we have no doubt we will achieve our goals as we continue to #reachfortherings.