Inspectors Include High-Profile Administrators, Former Athletes
By Kim Tong-hyung
Inspectors judging Gwangju's bid to host the 2013 Universiade will work through a busy schedule that will have them touring the city's sports landmarks, taking notes of its planning and financial package, and braving through long hours in briefings and receptions.
The six-member evaluation commission, led by International University Sports Federation (FISU) Vice President Stefan Bergh of Sweden, has already toured Vigo, Spain, and has Kazan, Russia, next on the calendar before issuing a final report of the three candidate cities ahead of the May 31 FISU vote in Brussels.
While a good evaluation report may not guarantee a winning bid, a bad one is likely to ensure defeat. So naturally, Gwangju officials are serious about putting up their best show.
Here's a glance at the members of the evaluation commission Gwangju will try to impress:
Stefan Bergh (Sweden)
The 46-year-old FISU vice president is one of Sweden's top policymakers in sports and is credited for his contributions in developing the country's youth sports culture.
Currently the director of sports policy at the Swedish Sports Confederation, Bergh has been president of the International Committee of the Swedish University Sports Federation since 1989, responsible for strategic priorities for sports at the youth and scholastic levels.
Married and a father of two, Bergh, who majored in Pedagogy and History at Uppsala University, also has a reputation as an educator, serving as the head of the department of education at his alma mater from 1993-1998.
Malumbete Michael Ralethe (South Africa)
The 41-year-old with a degree in medicine is one of South Africa's most influential sports figures, experiencing executive roles in many of the country's top sporting bodies.
Ralethe, currently the FISU's first assessor, served as the chairman of the South African National Olympic Committee (SOC) in 2000, and before that, was the head of the country's National University Sports Federation (NUSF) since 1995.
Ralethe, who was also a member of the organizing committee for the 2002 FISU Forum in Cape Town, is currently the vice president of Basketball South Africa and a member of the South African Schools Sports Union (SASSU)'s medical commission.
Stavros Douvis (Greece)
The 47-year-old former tennis star might lead the inspection team in athletic credibility. Douvis is a sporting legend in his country, serving as the captain of the Greek Davis Cup team for 10 consecutive years. He is also known for his passion for basketball, calling games as an international basketball referee in numerous Olympic tournaments and World Championships, including 35 finals.
Douvis is now building an equally impressive career as a sports administrator and educator. He served as the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) commissioner for the World Championships, Summer Universiade and Olympic Games, and was a management consultant for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens.
Sinisa Jasnic (Serbia)
Jasnic is another former star athlete amongst the FISU delegation. The 43-year-old enjoyed an accomplished career in track and field, crowned as the Montenegro Champion in the men's 100 meters, 200 meters and 4x100-meter relay in 1986, 1987, 1989 and 1990. Jasnic also starred for Novi Sad University's basketball squad and judo team.
Moving forward from the glories of his athletics days, Jasnic has worked for several Serbian sporting bodies, serving as a member of the country's national Olympic committee from 1996-2004 and president of the European University Basketball Championship in 2003.
He has been a FISU executive committee member since 2003 and was named sports person of the year by Vojvodina's chamber of commerce in 2002. He earned the golden plaque of Serbia and Montenegro's NUSF in 2003.
Kemal Tamer (Turkey)
The 54-year-old FISU assessor has an accomplished career as an educator, serving as the director of the school of Physical Education and Sports at Ankara's Gazi University from 1996-1998.
He was also the head of the physical education department at Middle East Technical University for seven years until 1989 and was responsible for developing national strategies and facilities for sports and leisure as a specialist at the Turkish State Planning Organization from 1989-1992.
Tamer is currently the president of the Turkish University Sports Foundation and a member of the country's national Olympic Committee.
He is also working for the Turkish Football Foundation and is an advising committee member for the National Sports and Research Center.
Hisato Igarashi (Japan)
Igarashi was one of the early pioneers who laid the foundation for his country's proud tradition in gymnastics.
The 57-year-old first became prominent as an athlete in 1971 when he clinched gold medals in the men's individual and team competition at the Asian Junior Gymnastics Championships.
After taking the silver in the 1974 Asian Games in Teheran, Iran, Igarashi became a national hero in 1976, when he won the gold in the men's team competition at the Summer Olympic Games in Montreal.
After retiring, Igarashi, a member of the Japanese Gymnastics Association, served as a coordinator of judges at the World Gymnastics Championships in 1995 and is currently working as the vice chairman of the opening ceremony for the National Sports Festival next year in Niigata.