OBSTACLE SPORTS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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, Obstacle Course Racing (OCR), and Adventure Racing. There are many event formats across the disciplines, with distances from 50 meters to hundreds of kilometres. The most practised event formats are mass participation, cross country races from 5 km to 25 km in length, generally called OCR. Ninja TV Show competitions (Sasuke and Ninja Warrior) have approximately 1 billion viewers worldwide. Adventure Racing has been widely practised and televised around the world since 1989, and it is estimated that over 300 million people have watched the Eco-Challenge 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.
HOW ARE THE ATHLETES REPRESENTED?
Athletes 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 FISO Athletes’ Advisory Council (AAC) is a standing committee of the international federation that broadens communication between FISO and elite athletes and serves as a source of opinion and advice on FISO policies that effect obstacle sports worldwide.
WHAT DOES FISO DO?
FISO facilitates safety, fairness and opportunities for athletes to compete at every level, including the FISO 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 FISO?
The members of FISO 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 FISO?
The Fédération Internationale de Sports d’Obstacles 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 80 countries.
WHAT IS THE MISSION OF FISO?
The Mission of FISO is to promote Obstacle Sports (Ninja, 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 eventually provide a route 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 FISO?
The goal of FISO 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 FISO GOVERNED?
FISO is governed by a volunteer board made up of obstacle race 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 FISO 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 FISO?
FISO is committed to securing the sustainability and growth of obstacle course racing 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 FISO.
- 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 FISO 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 FISO‘s LONG-TERM PLAN?
FISO 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 FISO will hire staff to run and operate the organisation independently based on the General Statutes and by-laws. FISO’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 FISO, representing the Congress which is composed of the national federation members.
WILL FISO STIFLE OBSTACLE INNOVATION?
No. FISO‘s goal is to encourage the growth, diversity and innovation in OCR. 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 FISO 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 OCR to achieve medal events at International Multisport Games.
IS FISO AFFILIATED WITH ANY INTERNATIONAL SPORTING ORGANIZATIONS?
Yes, FISO is being evaluated by the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) 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. FISO also attends international conferences and follows guidelines for SafeSport, Transgender, Medical Safety, event sustainability and responsible business practices.
HOW CAN FISO HELP ME?
As a member-based nonprofit, FISO 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 FISO or your continental confederation.