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World renowned speed coach Bill Begg shares his vast knowledge of skating every week in his "Ask Bill Begg!" column on the Inline Planet.

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Sept. 1, 2010

Letter from Haining

Q[We dispensed with the usual Ask Bill Begg! format this week to ask the coach to share his thoughts on a topic of his choice.]

Hi, all: I just had a most pleasing and productive three days, made up of talks with various skate officials and dignitaries ... and it all happened right here in Haining, China.

It started with discussions with Heinz Schurtenberger, head of the company that runs the the World Inline Cup. Heinz agrees with me that major changes must be made to reactivate the World Inline Cup in Europe. He has some good ideas and backs some of the changes I have been pushing for years. (More on this in future columns.)

During his visit, Heinz signed contracts linking the Asianic Inline Cup with the World Inline Cup. This will strengthen both organizations. I will serve as race director for the events in Asia and Oceania, excluding those in Korea and Japan.

Heinz also met with Chinese sports officials, who reported later that they were nearly 100 percent certain that Haining would host a World Cup event in 2011.

After my meeting with Heinz, I got a chance to talk to Roberto Marotta, president of the speed committee of the Federation International of Roller Sports. It was great to see my old friend again.

I filled him in on plans for a new international banked track planned in Timaru, New Zealand. And we talked about the possibility of Timaru hosting the World Championships in 2015. This would be a big boost for inline speed skating “Down Under.”

Roberto and I also talked about something that has been bothering me for the last few years: the use of radios and other electronic equipment to tether coaches and skaters during races.

This equipment has led to cheating and given some athletes unfair advantage over others. It has also led to outright child abuse with coaches yelling into the ears of young skaters throughout races.

I oppose this kind of electronic equipment. Athletes should make their own decisions on the racecourse rather than having coaches controlling them like automotans.

Roberto assured me that banning mikes and radios is on his short list of things to do for the speed committee.

Finally last week, I was involved in contract negotiations between my employer, Marco Management, and two of New Zealand’s top skaters: Peter Michael and my daughter, Nicole Begg.

Peter, who has won four world championships, will join X-Tech and skate for the X-Tech MPC team next year. Nicole is already on the team.

I will serve as Peter’s manager and create a program that will focus on his priority of preparing for World Championships.

Both he and Nicole will compete on multiple continents. And we are hoping to relaunch Nicole into the World Inline Cup in 2011.

Cheers, Bill

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