OBSTACLE SPORTS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS INTERNATIONAL SPORT?
International sport and International Federations (IFs) is often misunderstood and mischaracterized. IFs represent the sports and are democratic, not for profit, non-governmental associations of national member federations serving the sport’s communities in each country. IFs exist to provide benefits for the athletes and their communities, making their sports accessible, affordable, and fair for people of all ages and circumstances. Sport functions include athlete development, coaching, training and officials pathways, access to international compeitions and multisport Games.
WHAT ARE OBSTACLE SPORTS?
Obstacle is a Sport composed of Disciplines and Events where athletes run and/or overcome obstacles in timed competitions. Obstacle sport disciplines (or sub-sports) include Ninja Competitions, Obstacle Course Racing (OCR), Fitness Racing, and Adventure Racing. There are many event formats across the disciplines, with distances from 50 meters to hundreds of kilometres. Formats include mass participation races from 5 km to 50 km in length, and Ninja TV Show style competitions (Sasuke and Ninja Warrior) with 1 billion viewers in 160 countries. Adventure Racing has been widely practised and televised around the world since 1989, and it is estimated that over 300 million people watched the Eco-Challenge, Outdoor Quest and Raid Gauloises since 1995.
WHAT IS THE SECRETARIAT?
The secretariat is the administrative office of the federation. This office runs the business of the sport, for example, secretarial duties, general administration, media, marketing, event logistics, commercial functions, legal and financial matters.
The Athlete Advisory Council (AAC) is a standing committee of World OCR, made up of elite athletes, that provides opinion and advice on FISO policies that effect obstacle sports worldwide. The AAC may appoint athletes to FISO nominating committees, panels empowered to resolve grievances, and any committee that prepares, approves or implements programs regarding the selection of international championships, Olympic, and Continental Games team members.
WHO ARE WE?
WORLD OBSTACLE, the Fédération Internationale de Sports d’Obstacles (FISO) exists to represent the needs of the athletes (the members of the national federations). It is a member-based, not-for-profit, independent, international organisation made up of volunteers. The President presides over all its activities, while the Congress and Executive Committee are responsible for taking the main decisions for the organisation.
Member national federations represent the athletes in the FISO Congress and propose and vote on policies and rules for their benefit. World Obstacle was granted GAISF Observer Status in 2021 and is now an observer member of AIMS, the Alliance of Independent recognized Members of Sport, one of the five umbrella bodies alongside ARISF, ASOIF and AIOWF and the associate members recognized by the International Olympic Committee.
HOW ARE THE ATHLETES REPRESENTED?
Athletes and associations are the members of the national federations and lead the committees, commissions, boards and executive branches. This is a democratic system by and for the athletes to represent their needs.
WHAT IS THE ATHLETE ADVISORY COUNCIL?
The WORLD OBSTACLE Athletes’ Advisory Council (AAC) is a standing committees of WORLD OBSTACLE that broades communication with elite athletes and serves as a source of opinion and advice on WORLD OBSTACLE policies that effect obstacle sports worldwide.
WHAT DOES WORLD OBSTACLE DO?
WORLD OBSTACLE facilitates safety, fairness and opportunities for athletes to compete at every level, including the WORLD OBSTACLE World Championships, World Series and Continental Championships. This includes international results and rankings, officials, training, rule enforcement, insurance services, coaching, training camps, event information, event services, news, education, adjudication and more.
WHO ARE THE MEMBERS OF WORLD OBSTACLE?
The members of WORLD OBSTACLE are the national federations representing over 100 countries worldwide. Each national federation is composed of athlete members and represents their needs and interests. National Federation members are organised into Continental Regions, which are associations of the National Federations in four continental regions in Africa, Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe.
WHAT IS WORLD OBSTACLE?
WORLD OBSTACLE is the international governing body and sole competent authority for obstacle sports and related disciplines worldwide. We are an independent association composed of national member federations in more than 100 countries.
WHAT IS THE MISSION OF WORLD OBSTACLE?
The Mission of WORLD OBSTACLE is to promote Obstacle Sports (Ninja Warrior, OCR and Adventure Racing) throughout the world, to lead Obstacle Sports, and meet the requirements as specified by the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee. We promote official World Championships in various disciplines and events for our member federations and their athlete members and provide a pathway to International Multi-Sport Games. Examples of Multisport Games include the South East Asia Games, Pan Am Games and Summer Olympic Games.
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF WORLD OBSTACLE?
The goal of WORLD OBSTACLE is to contribute to the greater good of humankind by educating all through participation in sport, without discrimination or bias of any kind. We aim to facilitate mutual understanding, collaboration, friendship and fairness between the athletes and all parties of interest.
HOW IS THE WORLD OBSTACLE GOVERNED?
WORLD OBSTACLE is governed by a volunteer board made up of obstacle sports enthusiasts, sports professionals, Olympians, athletes, medical practitioners and event producers from across the member national federations. Central Board members are nominated by members prior to the election at annual general meetings called the Congress.
ARE WORLD OBSTACLE BOARD MEMBERS AND COMMITTEE MEMBERS PAID?
As a Swiss not for profit organization, all Board and Committee and Commission Members are volunteers and are not paid. Members in governance are entitled to be reimbursed for expenses, as long as they are pre-approved.
WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF WORLD OBSTACLE?
WORLD OBSTACLE is committed to securing the sustainability and growth of obstacle sports worldwide. Our goals are:
- Representing the needs of the athletes and provide a unified sport for cheaper, safer and fairer races and a system to qualify for championships and international multi-sport Games.
- Sanction (recognise) leagues and global race brands that meet minimum safety, operational and fairness requirements to ensure a healthy racing environment for all participants.
- Provide inexpensive and comprehensive insurance for national federations and their athletes and race providers (sanctioned race).
- Unify Obstacle Sports worldwide.
- Host international Championships and events at international multi-sport Games.
- Be inclusive of organisations and brands, not shutting out organisations that wish to be associated with WORLD OBSTACLE.
- Provide Anti-Doping and Doping Control services for sanctioned championship races through the world.
- Provide guidelines for the operational and medical safety of obstacle course races.
- Provide a coach certification and training system with qualified coaches and camps to develop the sport and athletes across the world.
- Provide guidelines and policies for training, certifying and deploying race officials, marshals and referees at recognised events worldwide.
WHO DOES WORLD OBSTACLE SUPPORT?
World Obstacle’s primary purpose is to support all obstacle sports athletes through their national federations and provide the platforms and opportunities for athletes to participate in international competitions and multi-sport Games.
WHAT IS WORLD OBSTACLE‘s LONG-TERM PLAN?
WORLD OBSTACLE is working toward meeting the requirements as specified by the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) for approval as an internationally recognised sport under the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Once financially stable, the board of WORLD OBSTACLE will hire staff to run and operate the organisation independently based on the General Statutes and by-laws. WORLD OBSTACLE’s staff, the Secretariat, is responsible for implementing the directives of the Executive Committee, who implement the decisions of the Central Board. The Central Board is the highest executive branch of WORLD OBSTACLE, representing the Congress which is composed of the national federation members.
WILL WORLD OBSTACLE STIFLE INNOVATION?
No. WORLD OBSTACLE‘s goal is to encourage the growth, diversity and innovation in Obstacle Sports. While FISO develops obstacle guidelines and standards for various Championships, these guidelines do not hinder race organisations innovating obstacles or formats, or require them to include restrictive race rules.
WILL THE WORLD OBSTACLE FORCE BRANDS TO ADHERE TO STRICT GUIDELINES?
No. It is our goal that race directors from across the world adhere to a standard set of safety & medical guidelines that benefit all athletes. When it comes to obstacles and race formats, race organisations encouraged to operate and innovate new obstacles and race formats.
Guidelines are in place that is part of a long-term strategy for Obstacle Sports to achieve medal events at International Multisport Games.
IS WORLD OBSTACLE AFFILIATED WITH ANY INTERNATIONAL SPORTING ORGANIZATIONS?
Yes, WORLD OBSTACLE has been granted Observer Status by the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) “a clear reflection of the growth of obstacle sports worldwide, in addition to World Obstacle’s tireless efforts to promote these sports, its member federations and their athlete members” (GAISF President Raffaele Chiulli) to meet the requirements for approval by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). We adhere to the policies of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and are a member of ASTM International standards working group that specifies obstacle course safety policies for events. WORLD OBSTACLE also attends international conferences and follows guidelines for SafeSport, Transgender, Medical Safety, event sustainability and responsible business practices.
HOW CAN WORLD OBSTACLE HELP ME?
As a member-based nonprofit, WORLD OBSTACLE exists to represent the needs of the athletes through their national federations. Please sign up to become a member of your national federation and consider joining their board and committees. You can also help ensure the future of your sport by joining a committee of WORLD OBSTACLE or your continental confederation.