Seasoned Sport Executives and Elite athletes join IKF’s Olympic Format Taskforce

Following IKF’s Open Call to fill several positions in the newly created Olympic Format Taskforce, the chosen candidates have been announced.

Project Manager of the Taskforce will be Portuguese national Jorge Rodrigues e Sousa, graduate from AISTS’s Master of Advanced Studies in Sport Administration and Technology and a Senior Consultant and PMO in consulting for Smart Cities and Smart Stadiums. Through AISTS his experience includes projects with the IOC and World Athletics, while he is also a member of APOGESD, the Portuguese Association for Sport Management.

Jens van Poucke, Belgian national and a former Ice Hockey professional athlete, will be responsible in the Taskforce for the assessments and designs of possible new formats, playing surfaces and competition format, the player ranking system, and appeal among athletes. He is currently a private banker at a Swiss Investment Bank with further experience as founder & CEO of a tech startup in the USA, product director, Head of Sport/Marketing and Head of Anti-Doping for the Olympic Federation of WSB & AIBA.

Other members of the Taskforce include Elite athlete Ya-Wen Lin, current player of the national team of Chinese Taipei, Marjan de Jong, former Elite player of the Dutch national team, Willard “Bill” Johnson, current Elite athlete and player in the USA beach korfball national team and Dutch national Geert Hendriks, Vice President of the Swiss Korfball Federation, based in the Lausanne, the Olympic capital, and who is a leading expert in sport, sustainability and the Olympic movement.

Gabi Kool, Chair of the Executive Committee and chairing the Olympic Format taskforce shared: “IKF is extremely pleased to compose such a strong team of people working on this important task for our federation in the coming year. We have secured a diverse group, both from within the korfball community as well as some new faces to our sport who bring additional expertise, a proven track record and new perspectives to our taskforce. I have full confidence that this team will bring a well-rounded view and recommendation to the Executive Committee in 2023 so we can take the right decisions for an important element of the future of our sport.”

The Olympic Format taskforce is responsible to lead the project aimed at helping IKF to determine which of the new Korfball formats, with a smaller number of players compared to traditional Korfball8, has the largest chance of broad appeal among athletes, fans, National and Regional Federations and sponsors with the ultimate goal of appealing to the IOC for a possible inclusion on the Olympic program. The project has been initiated in Q1 2022 and is expected to be completed by Q3 2023 after which the promotion towards the IOC will be initiated as part of a more holistic Olympic inclusion strategy. Key milestones are the creation of a research framework, including the competitive landscape of other sports and mapping out possible appeal among all stakeholders; field research among all identified stakeholders including possible competition formats, playing formats and the creation of a scaling framework. This will be followed by a presentation of the interim findings to IKF and Regional Federations to collect further feedback and comments with a final delivery to IKF of the report and recommendation to support IKF’s Executive Committee in their decision making. Following that decision during the World Korfball Congress in 2023 at the World Championship in Chinese Taipei, IKF will then start the roll out, scaling activities and active promotion of its chosen format towards IOC as well as the World Games.