It was fabulous to have a face-to-face INWA convention after a long break due to the impact of the COVID pandemic. Not all countries were allowed to travel to Croatia yet, but for those representatives who made it, it was a valuable and highly enjoyable experience again.
INWA CONVENTION 2022 – DAY 1:
Day 1 of the convention was opened by INWA president Aki Karihtala who introduced the hosts, the Croatian Nordic Walking Federation.
Davorin Antonic and Kreso Ritz talked about how they developed Nordic Walking in their country, starting way back in 2005.
Then we had the long-awaited launch of the new INWA Instructor manual by Marco Maas, INWA International Trainer and head of the INWA Educational Committee.
The audience enjoyed the next two lectures from local scientists Goran Sporis and Robert Bobinec on the benefits of exercise for our brains and the development of a VO2max test using Nordic Walking. We look forward to hearing more about their research in the future.
There were presentations and interesting discussions throughout the event around the development of racing to make it bigger and better. The interest is certainly increasing. Our member Polskie Zrzesnie Nordic Walking (PZNW), showed us their extensive experience in organisation of races. In 2022 they organised the INWA World Cup and INWA World Championships with over 700 participants.
After a day of lectures, we took the advice of Goran Sporis and went for a guided walk around the old town of Zagreb, to help us prepare our brain for more learning on day 2.
Despite the city being severely impacted by a major earthquake in 2020, we were able to wander around the old area and admire the architecture and hear about the history of the ‘two cities’. We then enjoyed a wine and cheese tasting experience, sampling the delicious local produce.
INWA CONVENTION 2022 – DAY 2:
Moving onto day 2, INWA Spain gave three fascinating lectures starting with Cristina Gonzalez Castro talking about Ideomotor Training – a new way for instructors to help their Nordic Walkers improve their technique.
INWA Spain then presented a summary of two very successful projects. The first from Sergi Garcia Gisbert was all about how they introduced Nordic Walking to a group of 3000 older adults – an exceptional achievement.
The next lecture by Natalia Palacios Samper explained how they had introduced the INWA instructor qualification to a tertiary college for students studying sports. Encouraging to see younger people showing more interest in becoming an instructor.
Possibly the most important reason for participants to travel across the world to this annual event is to network. The convention split into four groups and had intense discussions on how we could promote and grow Nordic Walking. During this period many great ideas were shared between countries. Ideas were exchanged on funding opportunities and areas of weakness were also identified along with potential solutions to strengthen our support for the network of INWA instructors around the world. The INWA board will be using this output to plan its strategy for the next five years.
We finished off the two days with our favourite activity – Nordic Walking of course! In a beautiful park in Zagreb, we went through new ways of teaching the INWA 10 Steps with Marco Maas and also explored some new exercises and drills with Naohiro Takahashi to help improve technique and add some fun to our regular sessions.
HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL AGAIN IN 2023 !