A couple of weeks have past since the World Championships and we are now taking an opportunity to look back at the biggest World Championships in the history of ITF with over 1,000 black belts competing. We take this opportunity to chat to the Chiarman of the Organising Committee, Mr. Paco Ferrando, who undertook the task of leading the team to organise this historical event.
What are your feelings looking back at the ITF World Championships that had over 1,000 black belts coming from 60 countries and all continents?
At the beginning we expected to get 800 competitors for us this was a great number of competitors but in September when the competition was coming closer and closer we saw that day by day more countries and teams were joining the tournament and we were very proud when we saw that we crossed the line of over 1000 competitors and we became the biggest ITF World Championship ever held.
.From the organization teams point of view we have tried to help all the countries to get the information they requested in the correct time, trying to make it easier for them to meet all the requirements, and to be able to join the ITF Worlds Championship.
What are your most memorable moments from the championships?
It is too difficult to say one moment, when I look back I remember some special moments. When we started the tournament all the teams were excited, and pleased to be there participating in the WC, the first day when everyone came to the stadium the people came to me and said "well done, this is what we expect for our ITF Championships”, "Fantastic hall, and it seems that will be a very good tournament", there were many nice words from all giving us congratulations and thanks, this was very special when you see that all your work done during long build up to the event finally has come to fruition and we have reached our goal.
Of course that there was some others, the opening ceremony with all delegations and countries present, the presentation for first time of some countries in one ITF Championship, the level of the competitors and the quality of the matches, the presidents speech and of course the special visit of some very special guests.
Organising the biggest event on the ITF's calendar takes massive work. Can you give us on overview of the work involved leading up to the championships, the main tasks, the people involved behind the scenes, the day to day preparation that people do not see but are key components in making this championships a success?
Since the ITF gave us the confidence to host the World Championships, we started first of all to build the team to work on these World championships. Behind the scenes there are nearly 75 volunteers that have worked with us, each one on their own tasks, making it easier for us to complete all the work, and of course that with out any of them the organization could not work in the same way.
Just to give you an idea, we started working in April 2012, in the Euros in Slovenia Master Viudes and myself got the idea for the poster and just when we came back home we started working with that, we saw maybe 20 different options of logos and designs and finally we decided on one different, never seen before idea, and we expected that the people would like it. In October 2012 we presented the big poster in Brighton during the World Cup and everyone was giving us compliments about it, this was the first step where we created expectation for the event by giving information in a very visual and impacting way. When we came back from the World Cup we started working with the ITF Director, Grandmaster Bos, the Tournament and Umpire Committees of the ITF, the AETF committee responsible for the online registration, and our local teams and committees to prepare the information for the event and the website.
After the information was ready and all delegations were emailing us and asking for some details for their delegation we started to work hard with our head organization team, we divided the team work into several areas; administrative, organizational, building, protocol and press.
All the teams worked very hard to make it possible to have a very successful and the biggest ITF World Championships in our History.
You and FEST have great experience in organising a World Cup and several European Championships in the past, how did these past experiences help this time around?
Yes, FEST has hosted the Euros three times (one Junior an two times Junior and senior) and one time the ITF World Cup, and this experience helped us a lot in building the organising structure and of course past experiences helped us not to make the same mistakes as before but this time to create an event that surpassed everyone’s expectations. Experience is always a key in everything we do.
Once the championships started what was your role and the role of the committee?
15 days before the tournament I said to all of the team , from my experience the biggest work and effort has already been done , now there is no chance to go back, and there are a few days to reach our goal that we have aiming for for a long time . Our work was 75% complete when the competition started and after that everything is easier once it is up and running.
Our Role was to prepare the sports hall and all details required by the committees, we tried to help and make the work of the committees easier and I can say on reflection that we did.
One of the most important things is to be always ready to improvise in any moment to solve any unexpected events. From my experience even when you try to have all details of the organization ready, there are always changes in the last moments or on the spot and you have improvise and find a solution. You must be ready always to move!!
What were the biggest challenges, what have you learned most from this experience?
In this kind of huge events you always learn a lot. When you have the experience in these events it always makes you open your eyes and learn. Each time an event is different and each time we learn a lot .
The biggest challenge was to make this big event with over 1000 participants successful and to make sure that all delegations enjoyed their visit to our country.
Any final words or thoughts?
On behalf of our team and I would like to thank the ITF to give us the opportunity to organize the biggest ITF World Championship of our history and to all delegations to trust us with the organization
We hope that with this successful event we will have helped to build the ITF Taekwon-Do community one step forward.