“Volunteers are definitely the unsung heroes against the COVID-19 fight!” - FIM Asia President Stephan Carapiet
2020 has been a special year for everyone. In the CONU Presidents’ update series, the leaders of the FIM’s Continental Unions describe the main challenges they faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and what people could learn from these extraordinary times.
FIM Asia was supposed to be in full swing for its sporting and non-sporting events for 2020 but everything was halted due to the pandemic and lockdown measures. However FIM Asia did not put its activities on hold and just wait for miracles to happen.
“We immediately launched, with the full assistance from my Board of Directors, the FIM Asia Cares Programme”, explains FIM Asia President Stephan Carapiet.
“Thanks to this programme, face masks, medicines and other medical testing kits as well as scanners were donated to all the FIM Asia national federations, commission members, FIM administration office, promoters and other FMNs in Europe and also North America who were heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic during that time.”
FIM Asia also launched a webinar via Zoom with the FIM Medical Commission Director, Dr. David McManus, as the guest speaker to raise awareness and promote education about COVID-19 and its effects on society.
“Correct safety precautions and procedures were also discussed by Dr. McManus for the purpose of making us understand how to stay as safe as possible.”
FIM Asia has also organised Board meetings and some online get together activities via Zoom in order to discuss and make plans for the future.
“FIM Asia also initiates regular online activities, chat groups and social Zoom activities with the FMNs to discuss their current situation and share updates.”
The pandemic hit very hard the Asian countries, restricting international air travels and making all the activities difficult to carry out.
Mr Carapiet says that the worst situation is not over yet in Asia.
“The situation is still bad out here. Some Asian countries are dependent on the countries that can produce the much needed vaccine. Countries are slowly opening up even if the virus is still around to mitigate adverse effects on the economy.”
The pandemic also had a great impact on the racing calendar.
“We were supposed to have about fifteen on-road and off-road races in 2020 but only one on-road race event was launched and finished. It was the ARRC opening round on 8 March 2020 and the rest was cancelled until this date.”
Even if the COVID-19 pandemic altered many plans, Mr Carapiet says that it also gave a chance to try new working methods which will have a positive influence on future plans.
“We definitely gained something from the pandemic, as all of us learned to work from home, learned to maximize online communication through the use of online platforms and formulate Safety Event Protocols for the benefit of everybody. We also use the online platforms to communicate across the world, to get our work done with the Board of Directors and to maintain contact with each FMN to check on their safety from time to time.”
Even after the pandemic, FIM Asia is planning to continue to use such new working methods.
“Online meetings are very helpful during this pandemic to pursue our assignments as we cannot leave ongoing projects unattended because of this pandemic. Constant communication is vital now for the future plans of FIM Asia in the coming years. In addition, online meetings and webinars surely provided solutions for most companies and will surely be useful in the future whether there is a crisis or not. There are still matters that cannot be dealt with online and that require physical presence at certain events and meetings.”
“It is very important to know how to enhance preparedness against any invisible enemies in the future to keep the sporting world alive. Helping each other during this pandemic is also important. For the proactive development of Safety Event Protocol, it is important to avoid being infected and also to help our respective nations in healing the world.”
Mr Carapiet wants to give a special recognition for all the volunteers who worked at the events on this special year.
“It is obviously dangerous to work outside during this pandemic but we are giving our best salute to all the volunteers for their courage and dedication to work for the sport. It’s very impressive to note what the front liners and volunteers are doing. These people are definitely the unsung heroes in the fight against COVID-19.”
As to the future, Mr Carapiet is ready to work hard in order to make next year a successful one.
“As the leader of FIM Asia, I always see things in a positive way and I will continue to work for the development of sports in Asia. Promoters are now submitting calendars and we noted these all exceed the six month of the racing season of 2021. Though next year will not yet be cleared of the virus, we in FIM Asia will still find ways to work with safety and progress for the coming years for the development of the sporting and non-sporting events in Asia and also the system of helping each other within the organisation as part of our social responsibility. Applying the protocol of events towards the new society and fighting against the virus will be at the heart of our activities. If everything goes smoothly and safely during the coming years, FIM Asia will bounce back to its sporting and non-sporting events thanks to the expected help from the Board of Directors and especially the FIM administration, as safety is a concern of paramount importance.”