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Resigned Rome Meeting Director criticizes FIDAL

As earlier reported Luigi D’Onofrio resigned from the position of Meeting Director of the Golden Gala.

In the interview made by, D’Onofrio speaks about his memories and sharply criticizes the Italian Federation.

* In the Competition Rankings the Roma Golden Gala is ranked second in the ‘Invitational/One-day competitions’ category. How did you evaluate the meeting yourself?

– "Yes the 2009 edition has been one of the best editions of Golden Gala. Great athletes, results, crowd, audience; it has been "a fantastic Roman evening of love for athletics".

* When did you start working for Golden Gala and since when have you been the Meeting Director?

– "I started to work for Golden Gala at the first edition in 1980 and I have been Meeting Director since 1995."

* Which are the most memorable moments of those many years?

– "At Golden Gala we have had many world records, a lot of fantastic duels, top performances, fascinating stories and unfortunately also a spectacular accident." (Pitkämäki’s javelin hit French long jumper Sdiri.) "Many moments of violent emotions; it is difficult to choose the most memorable moments. Anyway, I would like to cite two of them of completely different nature: the 1.500m world record of Hicham El Guerrouj in 1998 and in 2007 the first participation of a disabled athlete (Oscar Pistorius) in the “normal” international 400m race. Two things I strongly wanted: the first one to prove that Rome could be the best place for the middle distance race performances (at that time prerogative of the North-European countries) and the second one to show the fantastic uniqueness and universality of athletics."

* In your release you said you decided to break off your collaboration with FIDAL because of serious difference of opinions about the future of Golden Gala. Can you tell some more details?

– "It is not easy to say in a few words the difference of opinions we have (not only) about the future of Golden Gala. I restrict myself to say that I disagree with the Federation about it’s scarce interest and support to the last editions of the Meeting, the poor planning of the coming next editions, the passive adhesion to the Diamond League (a still unclear project lead by a private company that IAAF deceive itself to control or has given up the idea to control), the accepted undervaluation of the Golden Gala value and rights, the decision to change the date, etc. I believe FIDAL forgot the reason why a Federation is going to organize a One Day Meeting. Basically I am convinced the current FIDAL management is unsuited and very poor; the worst of ever."

* As a former athlete and a long-time meet organizer your life has been around athletics for decades. Will you stay involved? What are your plans for the future?

– "You are right. My life has been around athletics for decades. I have been athlete, teacher, coach, judge, club president, FIDAL local committee president, meeting and championships organizer…… Now it is time to make a pause and reflect on the meaning and the purpose for me to stay involved in athletics."

Interview by

Put together by a member of the World-Track and Field Website team members. This is usually done by an in house member with able assistance from someone or an agency reporting from outside.

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