The “Sports challenges and opportunities in pandemic times” forum-webinar was a big success

The free, open, online forum featured Ernesto Lucena, Sports Minister; Clemencia Anaya, researcher, and vice president of the Colombian Olympic Academy; Coach Freddy Amazo, and ESPN producer, Javier Barbato.

The event was organized by the Externado Masters in Sports Communication and Management program of the Social Communication – Journalism Faculty and the School of Management.

Communicators Antonio Casale, director of sports content at RCN Radio, and Germán Arango, journalist, and director of the Master’s program, acted as moderators.

At the forum, the experts addressed national interest issues, such as the different roles of the Government, the challenges and opportunities of technological implementation in the various areas of sports, the sports journalists’ opportunities during the pandemic, and, especially, the relevance of the opening of the Masters in Sports Communication and Management program in the current world situation.

“I am an Externado alumnus and believe this important Masters in Communication and Sports Management program is one of the things the country was lacking. Now that universities such as the Externado and others have taken this route, I believe that today, they are accomplishing what the country’s sports management needs, a well-trained leadership,” stated the Minister of Sports, Ernesto Lucena.

Lucena also alluded to the great challenge the Sports Ministry has faced due to mandatory isolation. “It has been an immense challenge for the Government because we were starting this ministry with a historic budget, an increase of 38%, and with a vision of a program inviting us to improve, and suddenly they told us half of the program could not be done.” The Minister also referred to the excitement generated by sports, now beginning to produce the new normal, which means returning to sports activity, but responsibly.

Additionally, during the forum, the Minister announced the creation of the Sports Entrepreneurship Fund from SENA, where all sports entrepreneurship projects in Colombia can be presented.

Clemencia Anaya, vice president of the Colombian Olympic Academy, spoke about the challenges of sports leadership during the quarantine and stated that “maintaining the Olympic spirit at all sports levels is a real challenge. Thanks to technology, we have had to look for different alternatives to maintain that excitement, and I believe Colombian sports leaders have found a way and have managed to keep their people active. They are aware Colombian athletes are an icon and an example for society and send a message of hope to meet again in a sports arena. The great challenge for humanity has been to keep the Olympic spirit alive.”

Coach Freddy Amazo spoke about the new vision of sports the new reality entails. “The current scenario has made the sports training methodology resort to adapting scenarios in homes or apartments. However, I think formative sports have been hit hard in this pandemic because there has not been a clear answer to what is required for the training of children and young people, and they have not been able to do it, not even virtually,” said Amazo.

For his part, Javier Barbato, sports journalist and ESPN producer talked about the challenges of the sports media and assured it was not easy to adapt to new methodologies and work systems. Barbato highlighted the contribution of digital technology in the work of sports journalists. “Something that, perhaps, those of us over 40 years old were not seeing in its real dimension, and, on the other hand, individuals who had not learned to work as a team, had to do so, quickly, digitally.”

Close to 300 people attended the forum-webinar, broadcast live by La Titular newspaper through its social networks.