A Loughgall man is set to pass a decade as president of the Tug of War International Federation following confirmation of a third term in office.
Cathal McKeever, who became president of the governing body for the first time in 2007, recently had another four-year period backed by federation colleagues during the World Congress in Sweden.
I look forward to working hard for the sport during this new term in officeCathal McKeever
A major target for McKeever is recognition of tug of war as a sport within the Olympic Games.
“Tug of war was an Olympic sport from 1900 until 1920 and one of my main objectives is to obtain its re-inclusion, possibly for the 2020 Tokyo Games,” said McKeever. “However, there are several other sports, such as karate, squash and baseball, with the same ambition that benefit from a much higher media profile worldwide.
“The week immediately prior to the World Congress I attended a week-long Sportsaccord convention in Russia.
“The latter was addressed by President Putin and brought together over 3,000 delegates from 109 international federations and 95 countries.
“I had pre-arranged meetings with representatives from a number of organisations, including World Games and the International Olympic Committee.”
McKeever is the fourth president of TWIF since 1960 - following in the footsteps of past officials from Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Despite his international commitments, he maintains a strong desire to promote the sport on the domestic front.
A founder member of the Ballyhegan club, he has served as chairman of the Northern Ireland Association for 25 years.
“I was chair of the United Kingdom Commission for 15 years prior to taking up the International Board position,” he said. “I was first elected on to the five-strong International Executive in 1989.
“My four-year term as president was renewed unopposed in 2011 and a similar result took place recently in Malmo.
“I am kept very busy as we have 70 nations worldwide under TWIF, so it is virtually a full-time job but an honour.
“I look forward to working hard for the sport during this new term in office and regard it as a real honour to have received such a vote of confidence from the federation.”