Q&A: Cornel Marculescu, FINA

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MEI talks to Cornel Marculescu, executive director of FINA about the aquatic sports global body's forthcoming inaugural World Aquatics Convention (27–29 September 2010).

Please describe your role and responsibilities at FINA"As FINA executive director, I supervise the management of the FINA headquarters in Lausanne. I am also member ex–officio of the FINA Executive and FINA Bureau, responsible for taking strategic decisions between the FINA Congresses, our supreme authority. In my functions, I am also the privileged liaison with our Committees and Commissions, as well as all the bidders and organisers of FINA events, and the Organising Committees of the Olympic Games. Part of my activities are also consecrated to the improvement of the marketing and sponsorships opportunities for our international federation. "Why did FINA decide to host a World Aquatics Convention? "We came to the conclusion that it was important at this stage to organise a major convention in which the delegates from our 202 national member federations could not only be together outside the stress of a competition, but also to meet all those that are responsible for the success of aquatic sports–sponsors, commercial partners, TV networks, media, bidders, organisers, all other companies capable to deliver services in the aquatic sphere. " Please describe what the event's aims and ambitions are? "This convention has four main goals:1. Establish necessary action to better develop and administrate the activities of FINA's 202 national member federations worldwide;2. Present the main direction of FINA in the 21st century, together with a view for our commercial partners, namely sponsors and TV networks;3. Achieve unity of the aquatic movement through the reinforcement of the strength of our national federations;4. Allow a stronger interaction between all the sport industry partners in aquatics. "Why did FINA choose Punta del Este, Uruguay as the location for the event? "South and Latin America are presently a region with a huge development in aquatic sports and the organisation of the convention in Punta del Este can be an additional factor for future progress. Moreover, the organisation of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will be a landmark for sports history in South/Latin America. The eyes of the world will be focused in this part of the world, so the industry related to sport must be prepared to face (and win) this important challenge. "How many people do you expect to attend the event and what can they expect from attending? "In Punta del Este, we expect to have around 400 participants in this convention. Those participants, together with our national federation delegates coming from five continents, are looking forward to investigate and challenge new business opportunities by expanding on new markets, establishing new relations and strengthening their networking. For that, an exhibition area will also be put in place during the three days of the convention and delegates will have the occasion to visit the promotional booths, where the companies will display their products and services, and exchange their contacts with those that can support the development of aquatics. National federations are invited to bring along their own present and potential partners in order to show to them the strength and the spectacular dimension of the FINA events. "What are the main issues that will be covered in your conference sessions? "We will cover many different issues, such as: Aquatics Today–Challenges and Opportunities; New Trends in Media; National Federation Strategic Planning; Aquatics for All–Engagement in Sport; Securing Clean Sport; Attracting Youth Audiences; The Role of the Aquatic Physician; Attracting and Retaining Sponsors; Winning in the Water–Giving Back to the Sport; National Federation relations with Public Authorities. Furthermore, some of these issues will be covered as workshops, giving additional opportunity for delegates to interact and discuss their vision and proposals. " What does FINA look for in a host city for your major events such as World Championships? "In the bidding process for a FINA World Championships, several aspects enter into consideration: the prestige of the city, the support of the government and local authorities, the quality and location of the venues, the tradition in aquatic sports, the legacy provided by the organisation of these championships to the city/region, the marketing and sponsorship opportunities, the quality of the host broadcasting, or the involvement of the local population and their capacity of mobilisation for such a demanding organisation. The FINA World Championships, our main product and privileged showcase to promote the FINA brand, are seen as Aquatic Festivals, in which the sporting performances go together with a successful social event. That is why the concentration of the venues is of paramount importance for us, something that is nowadays easier to achieve thanks to the technology of the temporary pools. For the cities hosting a FINA World Championships, the economical impact is also quite rewarding–to give an example, the last edition of our FINA World Championships, in 2009, in Rome, was seen by over 3. 5bn TV viewers worldwide. These figures have a tremendous impact on the promotion of the city and rank FINA among the most popular sports in the competitive international sports market. "About the FINA World Aquatics ConventionThe FINA World Aquatics Convention is the first and only official gathering of the Global Aquatics Community. Owned by FINA it will bring together FINA's 202 member National Federations along with all FINA partners, sponsors and other leading Aquatic organisations and industry suppliers from around the world. This is the number one networking event for the global Aquatics community. Taking place in Punta del Este, Uruguay, not only will this event provide key insight into one of the largest Olympic sports, but also facilitate the creation of relationships between local and international organisations that will contribute to the successful delivery of the world's largest sporting festival – the 2016 Summer Olympic & Paralympic Games. MEI is a media partner of the event.

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