— Published 1 June 2023

Petra Sörling joins the Board

A change of cast at the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF). Meeting on Wednesday May 31 in Lausanne for its annual general meeting, the body chaired by Italy’s Francesco Ricci Bitti elected three new board members. Belgium’s Ingmar De Vos (International Equestrian Federation) and Japan’s Morinari Watanabe (International Gymnastics Federation) were re-elected for a second four-year term. Sweden’s Petra Sörling (pictured above), President of the International Table Tennis Federation, joins the Board. She was elected to replace Spain’s Marisol Casado (World Triathlon), who had reached the end of her last term. At the same meeting, ASOIF granted full membership to the international federations of sport climbing (IFSC), surfing (ISA) and skateboarding (World Skate). And it admitted the World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC) as an associate member. The General Assembly opened with a speech by Thomas Bach, who had come as a neighbor from Olympic House. The IOC President raised the issue of the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international competitions, acknowledging that there was no “easy solution“, but at the same time stressing the importance of safeguarding the autonomy of sports organizations. Francesco Ricci Bitti, quoted in an ASOIF press release, commented: “The political situation is complex. And it’s clear that we don’t know exactly how things will evolve until the opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. So it’s important to keep different options open. It’s also essential to avoid interference from governments and to protect the self-determination of international federations so that they can properly organize their competitions.