ITU Staff and TD Spotlight
Alan MA – Macau – Technical Delegate, ITU 2017 World Triathlon Yokohama
1. How are Technical Officials organized in your country?
I am afraid the TO program in Macau is still in its infancy. I was back in the Macau setup only two years ago, and the very first task my federation has given to me is to train the local officials, to mentor them, to share my knowledge, and to raise the level of local races. Hopefully in two to three years time, some of the local officials will be qualified to attend the TO Level 1 course. We are working very closely with our friends in the Macau Athletics Association at the moment so many of their officials are working at our local races. Indeed, we will hold our very first ITU Community Level course this June, and I expect to see many of those familiar faces in the course. Apart from raising the level of the local races, TO training is also part of our big preparation for our ultimate project: the return of an ITU Asian Cup race in Macau. (For those who are old enough to remember, the last Macau ITU Asian Cup was in 2006).
2. What do you like most about officiating an event as TD?
I like the joy, the fulfilment as well as the personal satisfaction of overseeing an event. I also enjoy the process of preparing for an event, and feel privileged to work with a team of dedicated and diligent people to make the event an success. Furthermore, there is a saying that “you can always learn something new” from an event, I found that this particularly true, things that I’ve learnt over the years not only help me in the future planning, but also help to improve my skills in my profession, and to see things from a broader perspective.
3. What’s the hardest challenge/problem you faced during your career?
It will be the social difference between different cultures when working with different overseas LOC’s and NF’s. I need to understand their work culture, adjust and manage.
I also need to bear in mind that some LOC’s are constituted of a big team with a large corporate structure, whereas some could be just be a few people taking care of everything. Some LOC’s can respond to your requests very quickly, whereas some could take a long time to get back to you for different reasons. Some work on weekends, some don’t. As a TD, I need to take into account the various differences, and at the same time pay attention to some of the difficulties that the LOC’s face.
For instance, I was fairly frustrated for not receiving the insurance certificate from the LOC in one race. When I arrived at the event city, it still wasn’t ready yet. Though the LOC assured me that the certificate would be there, I complained naturally, as we were only a couple of days before the race. Then I learnt from the LOC the the delay was not anyone’s fault, it was the local insurance company policy that the certificate would not be issued until the LOC had submitted the final list of athletes, with names and categories, that were confirmed who would be racing on the weekend.
4. What are your Top 3 things to keep in mind while working on an event?
Constant communication with LOC & ITU Team – emails and Skype calls if necessary, ensure everyone is up to date and informed.
Timeliness – keep checking on progress as per the project plan.
Technical Officials involvement – get them involved early, inform them of your expectations and ask them to prepare before they arrive to the event.
5. Please share a funny incident occurred at past event.
I was in Burabay, Kazakhstan as a facilitator and TO for an event some years ago. The TD was David Hoong, after the elite event, he asked one of our fellow TO’s to measure and verify the mixed relay run course, I volunteered to go with him.
It was a cold but very fine day, the placid lake on one side, separated by a road with little traffic, and the woods on the other side. I was walking with the TO, holding a GPS, admiring the nature and I saw a very nice trail in the woods, and I was thinking wouldn’t it be nice to do a bit of biking in the woods, I wished I had my mountain bike with me. Indeed, it was a very nice walk, we did our job, marked the U-turn point and the mixed relay zone, handed the GPS back to David, and then got a lift back to the hotel.
During dinner at the hotel, the Singapore coach asked me: “Did you guys see the black bear in the woods?”
Johanne Suss-Burckel – Manager, Sport Administration
1. Please describe your role / position in ITU?
I’m Sport Administration Manager within the ITU Sport Department.
I take care of many different tasks: events’ database and website updates, World Cup contracts, inventory and logistics for ITU events (WTS, WC, Multisport WCH, Para events), travel and accommodation of the ITU team, TO’s expense reports, etc.
I’m also supervising the ITU office in Lausanne and its 4 employees.
And if I’m on site at an event, I’m helping on the Sport Presentation side.
2. What is your goal and objectives of this year?
Keeping the same quality of services provided to our stakeholders (Technical Officials, LOCs, athletes, National Federations, etc.) even though the number of events are increasing.
Working on 2 big projects: the 1st ever Multisport Festival in Penticton, and the Grand Final in Rotterdam with the ITU Congress.
3. What do you like most about your role?
I work in a small and passionate team and my job is very diverse.
I work with many different people, from different cultures and different countries (but unfortunately mostly by email).
4. What do you find the most challenging aspect of your job role?
Can be the same as above 😉 I work in a small team and my job is very diverse. What I like about my job can also be a challenging aspect some times.
But traveling to some events always gives me some ‘fresh air’, and I wouldn’t enjoy too much routine anyway!
5. Could you tell us about your best moment or the funniest experience since you joined ITU?
There’s always plenty of fun at the events. The most recent one – more a forced laugh actually – is when we had the medal ceremonies in Cozumel for the first races, U23 and Junior. LOC did not put any stickers or classify the flags and they didn’t know which flag was for which country. So the LOC were just showing every flag to the medallists, behind the podium, asking them if it was their country flag. It was so embarrassing!