Paolo Barelli re-elected for third term with landslide victory
LEN President Paolo Barelli has been re-elected for a third term at the 2020 LEN Congress, which was held on the web, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. David Sparkes retained his post as General Secretary while Fernando Carpena will be the new LEN Treasurer. For the first time in its history, LEN will have two female Vice-Presidents, namely Pia Holmen and Tunde Szabo.
Italy’s Paolo Barelli will lead European Aquatics (LEN) for another four-year term after claiming a landslide victory over the other candidate Gilles Sezionale of France. The incumbent president received 86 votes, his challenger got 13 at the LEN Congress, where the attendance reached an unprecedented 100% as all 52 nations took part in the videoconference and in the voting process.
“Even if we came together only on the web, this Congress was once again the celebration of our unity and a sound approval on everything we have achieved so far” Paolo Barelli said after his re-election. “In the past years, European Aquatics enjoyed a really successful period and the benefits were significant. We were able to share those with our National Federations offering them financial support and with our athletes who could earn ever-growing amounts of prize-money at our events. They are the frontrunners in this success story, they deserve all credits for making Europe the No. 1 continent in aquatics.”
Barelli recalled that the value of the top LEN showcases – the European Aquatics Championships, the European Water Polo Championships, the shortcourse swimming Europeans and the water polo Champions League Final Eight – was increasing constantly while visiting the continent’s great cities like London, Glasgow, Belgrade, Barcelona, Budapest and Copenhagen. “We are on the right track to continue our stable growth” the LEN President added. “I know that this year has been challenging for all of us – and LEN wished to support its federations by distributing one million euros to ease the pressure the pandemic may have put on them. Still, I’m convinced that soon our life can get back to normal, all the pools will be reopen and we can enjoy the same vibe and excitement at the LEN Events as in the past.”
David Sparkes (GBR) is to continue as General Secretary, a post he’s held since 2012 too, while Fernando Carpena (ESP) will be the new LEN Treasurer.
For the first time in history, LEN will have two female Vice-Presidents, Pia Holmen (DEN) and Tunde Szabo (HUN) – Ms Szabo is currently the Sport Minister of Hungary. The longest serving active LEN Official Dimitris Diathesopoulos (GRE) – Bureau Member since 1990 – also retained his role as Vice-President, together with Andriy Vlaskov (UKR) and Marius van Zeijtz (NED). Six of the Bureau Members were re-elected: Joe Caruana (MLT), Camelia Potec (ROU), Alexandar Sostar (SRB), Marco Stacchiotti (LUX), Alexei Vlasenko (RUS) and Noam Zwi (ISR). And there are three new members: Christer Magnusson (SWE), Predrag Sloboda (CRO) and Sami Wahlmann (FIN).
There are a couple of former greats among the members of the elected leadership, four of them competed at the Olympics: Alexandar Sostar and Camelia Potec were Olympic champions, Tunde Szabo Olympic silver medallist and Paolo Barelli took part in two editions and was World Championship bronze medallist as a swimmer.
Besides Mr Barelli, David Sparkes, Fernando Carpena and Dimitris Diathesopoulos will represent Europe in the FINA Bureau from 2021 (and two more European candidates shall be elected at the FINA Congress next June).
Former LEN Treasurer Tamas Gyarfas (HUN) and Vice-President Christa Thiel (GER) were elected Honorary Members of LEN. The Congress approved the reports on 2019 and the new budgets. The respective Technical Committees, LEN Panels and Commissions shall be composed in the coming weeks and are to be approved by the new Bureau.