Conference Review
- Day Two


World swimming champion, Katinka Hosszu, urged athletes to learn how to use social media properly so that they can connect fully with the younger generation.

“Athletes have to learn how to use social media,” the 24-year-old told delegates at the SportAccord Convention Panel Session, ‘Youth Club’. “We have stories behind the athletes, we can put our personal information on social media and connect with our fans.

“However, young athletes should be responsible and careful about what they write on social media, and should take social media training on how to use it.”

Italian high jumper, Alessia Trost, agreed. “We need to be supported and trained in how to use social media technology,” said the 21-year-old. “We need trainers to tell us and encourage us to tap into our talents and motivate us to perform and train effectively.”

Panel Moderator, Professor Andy Miah, Director of the Creative Futures Institute, University of the West of Scotland, emphasised that social media isn’t just for sportsmen and women. “People want to hear directly from leaders and social media provides this opportunity,” he said.

Hosszu called on sports officials to organise more events to get more young people involved and interested in sport. “We need to engage youth by doing more events regularly for more youth participation,” she said.

“I enjoy competing a lot and, as athletes, we should travel and compete more. I try to be an example to youngsters and travelling more also enables me to connect with people and my fans.”

However, Paralympic athlete, Megan Harris, pointed out that funding is an issue, saying it is ‘great’ at the top but ‘not so great’ at the bottom.

“A lot of work has to be done to get a balance between education, family, sport and training,” she said. “There has to be a method or way to do this properly for enhancing young talent. The participation of the Federations is very important.”

Trost suggested that International Federations should work together on competition and training, as young people would then have the same starting point and it would raise the standard of competition. “It would be great for developing countries to have equality in terms of support and funding,” she added.