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Bosnia & Herzegovina - athletics is thriving!
An incredible surge in athletic activity this season...
Enter BIH into the search bar of OpenTrack’s competition listing. One not only gets a listing of 36 competitions, but 23 of those are from 2023. Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH) formally decided to adopt OpenTrack in December, and swung into action at the start of the indoor season. It represents a shining example of how well OpenTrack works to seamlessly present a vast range and scope of grassroots athletics.
A glimpse of 18 Feb to 27 May shows us this wonderful array of sporting theatre:
That’s over 1,300 athletic performances in this time span alone from the resurgent Sarajevo - such a precious sporting jewel since the mesmerising Olympics of 1984, pictured, to Zenica, Kalesija, Tuzla [also pictured] & Sokolac.
Sarajevo became a byword for sporting excellence back in 1984, with Torvill and Dean’s perfect 6’s, before the city suffered the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare, for a total of 1,425 days, from April 1992 to February 1996. Amazingly, the Bosnian federation continued to organise athletics meetings - even international ones - during the war. But the comeback to rediscover Sarjevo’s legacy is well and truly on!
Picturesque Tuzla is also getting on the act, putting on popular meets for its junior athletes, with U14B David Mirkovic running the 1km in 3:05 and U14G Lara Desic 2:35 for the 800.
Bakir Baković scored a fine 11.14 100 at age 18, in Tuzla.
The rollout process
The federation’s president, Duško Ivićić, and general secretary Mehmed Lokmić, appointed Jasmin Gavranović, a coach from top club AK Sloboda Tehnograd in Banja Luka, to be the contact point with OpenTrack. Jasmin had already built a great new website for the federation. Jasmin rolled his sleeves up and learned the system. He then invited the administrators of the key clubs to manage their own club pages, and add in all of the athletes - usually younger children. They then clicked to “request a licence” from the federation from anyone wanting to compete at a national level. They had to be in the system to be entered into competitions, so this drove a very rapid adoptions.
A season of action
The season started at the Zetra sports complex in Sarajevo, home base to the country’s biggest club. The highlight was Edhem Vikalo running 6.85 in the 60 aged 21; whilst there were no fewer than 338 junior competitors a week later in 22 competitions, with some remarkable sprinting on offer as four went 7.72 or below, the highlight being 14 year old Danis Rastoder’s 7.48.
We notice in Kalesija that the 8k is a popular distance and an array of endurance events were put on for the 2k, 3k and 8k; and Poligon on March 25 saw a day dedicated to the throws, with 85 athletes hurling a shot, hammer or discuss. Our pick of the lot being Nermin Štitkovac’s 17.98 for the shot.
There was an enormous Multi-events “All round Championship” meeting in Sarejevo on the weekend of 13-14, which saw an incredible 67 events competed for by 87 athletes logging 487 results. Pick of the bunch was an 11.00 by Egon Savić (23).
Finally, there was a very popular meeting in Sokolac on 27 May, which saw 229 U13s compete at mainly sprints, but there being another unusual distance of the 600 which saw U12G Semina Mujanović find a 1:56.
Athletics often moves to Sokolac, northeast from Sarajevo, in summer, as it’s high in the green hills and offers escapes from the summer heat; it was here in 2017 where OpenTrack first tested the live field events recording at international level, capturing Mesud Pezer’s national record (better than anything seen in the UK for 20 years!) on a mobile phone and getting throw-by-throw action live to European Athletics’ statisticians.
Every summer there’s an international meeting in Zenica, an hour northwest of Sarajevo, at Kamberovice fields. This brings a host of athletes both from the neighbours and from further afield. The atmosphere is really friendly. Throws are well represented, and Bosnia has a great tradition here, but this year the shot put win went to Filip Mihaljevic of neighbouring Croatia with 21.50. He was, at least, born in Bosnia! Meanwhile, aided by a very generous 3.0m following wind, five people went under 11.0 seconds in the 100m.
At the European Team Championships in Silesia, they just missed promotion out of Division 3 with a fourth place, with home town hero and Doha silver medallist winning the 800 in a tactical race…
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National championships beckon in July and August, wrapping up with a junior team championship in Tuzla, where the home club - whose coach Kada Delić Selimović was European Athletics Coach of the Year - must be in with strong chance!
We’re delighted that Bosnia has become such a thriving and successful hub for grassroots athletics for all ages, and we can’t wait to continue to assist them and oil the wheels of what is one of the fastest growing athletics hubs in Europe. Congratulations to all involved in this great success story.
The final verdict
We asked Jasmin how things had gone over the last few months, and really can’t add anything to his testimonial below….
We would like to inform you that the implementation of the OpenTrack system in our association has brought numerous benefits and significantly improved our work processes. We would like to share with you some key advantages we have noticed since the system was put in place.
Firstly, OpenTrack has made the process of registration and deregistration for competitions much easier. Our members and clubs can now easily and efficiently sign up or withdraw through the platform, eliminating the need for physical submission of paper forms or communication via email. This has greatly expedited administrative processes and reduced the possibility of errors in manual data entry.
Furthermore, OpenTrack has facilitated seamless and automated scoring for multi-events. The system automatically processes competition results and calculates points based on predefined rules. This has significantly reduced the time required for manual scoring and increased the accuracy of results.
Most importantly, the implementation of the OpenTrack system has saved valuable time. Thanks to this system, our staff members are able to perform their tasks faster and more efficiently. The achievement of implementing the system within a record time of three months has been outstanding, and the results have already proven to be highly beneficial for our association.
The introduction of the OpenTrack system has been a significant step forward for our association, and we believe it will continue to bring numerous benefits in the future. Thank you for your support and understanding throughout this implementation process.
Jasmin Gavranović OT Manager AF Bosnia and Herzegovina