Nynette Sass Puts Her Hand up for SASNOC Secretary General – Says Administration Crucial to Sports Development in Samoa and Pacific Region

"A strategic approach to building the capacity of sports associations would go a long away to boosting sports development in Samoa, and provide the necessary support to athletes"

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Quality sports administrators and good governance structures are critical requirements to complement sports development and high performing athletes, both in Samoa and across the Pacific region.

That is the view of OSEP Regional Master Educator, SASNOC board member and immediate past Chef de Mission (CDM) for Samoa, Ms Nynette Sass, who says it’s important for administrators to be supported in upholding good governance structures and to have a firm understanding of their roles.

In an interview with Sass as she completed the BOU (Band of Usos) challenge last week, she highlighted the need to offer support and build the capacity of sports administrators, to complement the investment being made to the development of our athletes.

“Let’s face it, for most local sports, our administrators are all working on a voluntary basis for the love of their sport,” observes Sass. “Team managers and sports club administrators are providing a wide range of support services to athletes – from the basics of supplying water during training, to transport, to raising funds and coordinating events, to offering mentoring and personal development advice”.

Nynette Sass with Judo Athletes from Samoa in a pre-Olympic training camp, Yamagata City in Tokyo, 2019.

Sass says a strategic approach to building the capacity of sports associations would go a long away to boosting sports development in Samoa, and provide the necessary support to athletes.

“That could be done through a national strategy that would include opportunities to offer accredited courses and capacity building training programmes to administrators, through their national sports associations” she says.

Nynette Sass has been involved as a sports administrator in Samoa for the past 30 years; first with the Sailing Association, and more recently with the re-establishment of Badminton. She is one of only two qualified Master Educators in Samoa for the Oceania Sports Education Program (OSEP) offered through the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC).

Nynette Sass as Samoa’s Chef de Mission, Pacific Games, Apia 2019.

According to Oceania Regional Training Manager, Talemo Waqa, Samoa’s Nynette Sass was equal first in the region, as top graduate student for the IOC ONOC Managing Olympic Sport Organisations (MOSO) course.

“She is an OSEP Regional Master Educator capable of delivering a variety of courses. She walks the talk, lives by principles of good governance and does not shy away from saying her mind to correct integrity and compliance issues,” says Mr Waqa.

Sass says there are opportunities Samoa can tap into, to build the capacity of our sports administrators through MOSO, ONOC an IOC.

Also Chair of Samoa’s Women in Sports Commission for SASNOC (Samoa Association of Sports & National Olympic Committee), Ms Sass says sports keeps our Samoa and Pacific youth active and motivated, and creates important alternative career opportunities.

“Being able to secure overseas contracts in sports has economic benefits through remittances, and the area of Sports Tourism can also bring in huge benefits for Samoa, as we have seen whenever we host an international sporting event”.

“In my role as CDM, I saw first hand the raw talent and commitment of our athletes, and the heights they can achieve when the support around them is of a high standard”.

Sass says the advancement of Women in Sports is crucial to the pursuit of gender equality, and noted the IOC’s stance to ensure member countries bring an equal 50-50 participation of women and men to the Paris Olympics.

“The IOC has publicly announced its commitments to strengthen gender equality, which it hopes to achieve before Paris 2024,” noted Sass. “At a recent Gender Equality Forum, a pledge was made to ensure that for Paris 2024, there is a 50 percent male and 50 percent female representation amongst athletes”.

“Another goal that has been set by IOC is to accelerate female representation in governance and leadership positions across the Olympic Movement, with a target of at least 30 per cent women in decision-making bodies,” adds Sass.

SASNOC will host its Annual General Meeting on Thursday afternoon at 5pm, where Nynette Sass has been nominated for the role of General Secretary. Sass has been a Board Member of SASNOC since 2016.

If elected as General Secretary of SASNOC, Nynette Sass says she will look forward to pursuing the goals set out in the national committee’s strategic plan.

Nynette says SASNOC’s mission is to empower and provide opportunities for all people of Samoa to achieve personal aspirations and excellence through sports. She says the implementation plan has been set by SASNOC’s outgoing President and Board, and it’s now time to focus on it’s ongoing implementation.

“There is an IOC Readiness Assessment Toolkit (RAT) that can be applied to National Federations to help SWOT and identify gaps,” says Sass.

“With COVID stopping many of the international events, this time can be well utilised to focus on capacity building, getting governance structures right, and getting everyone trained through some of these fantastic accredited courses,” she adds.

In the region, Nynette is also a member of the ONOC Equity Commission, and in response to questions from Samoa Global News, Commission Chair, Helen Brownlee says Sass has gained the respect of officials and athletes in the region by always providing support and showing a commitment to their goals.

“As a member of the Equity Commission, Nynette Sass has worked tirelessly to empower the women and girls of Oceania. She is a delight to work with, leading by example, and approaching challenges with empathy and pragmatism. Nynette has been an integral member of my team and her loyalty and enthusiasm is valued. In addition, she has demonstrated extensive knowledge of sport in Samoa, and indeed the Region. In every respect a staunch ally to have “on side”, and I wish her every success in the forthcoming NOC election.”