Pierre Frolla, Head of Safety for the 2019 AIDA Depth World Championships, has released a statement his own statement regarding the organization of the competition and his personal view of AIDA International
The full statement is below, please note we have translated from the statement in French. The original statement can be found here.
“Now that the Aida 2019 World Championships are over and we have finished our work, it is time to clarify some things. Beyond giving my opinion in this post, I want to highlight my feelings and my personal vision of things. A position that is my comment only. Only me.
It is clear now that AIDA International, through the various decisions made during this great meeting, deliberately wanted to show its true face to the Apnea community, the media, the novice practitioners, as well as parents and children who had the opportunity to follow these championships.
It is now clear that AIDA International fully condones the fact:
– that an athlete, having lost consciousness at the end of their performance, can see their performance validated.
– An athlete who has suffered one or more loss of knowledge during training during the week preceding the competition may be on the starting line
– That an athlete who suffered a loss of knowledge during the first days of the competition may return to the starting line
– There is no medical monitoring on the medium or long term imposed by AIDA International on competing athletes. In other words, AIDA International does not currently have the means, but especially and apparently the desire, to delve deeply into the suspected risks of OPI, air embolism, decompression sickness, allowing seriously injured athletes to compete
– That as long as an athlete has airways emerging, whatever his state of consciousness, he is “able to receive a white card”
AIDA International has therefore decided to go up to the world that an athlete, no longer in full possession of his physical, mental, or motor skills can, if he has made his exit protocol “in the rules”, be validated by white card.
On a competition, AIDA International is represented by its judges. Judges applying international AIDA regulation.
Only support and sometimes because of this state of affairs, the intervention of the safety team, “Apneistes de sécurité”. Because indeed, underwater, the judges not being present, it is the Safety Team which have, fortunately, all power to intervene.
But back on the surface, it is the judges who take back power and who alone can order assistance by shouting the famous “GRAB”. On the last championships that took place in Villefranche-sur-mer, and after the first day of competition which was a hecatomb in terms of accidents, the security team asked the right to be able to intervene in his soul and conscience if it judged that the physical integrity of the athlete was in danger.
This right was not given to him but granted. “You do it, ok, but in your soul and conscience, and if the athlete claims you will take responsibility,” the security team was told.
Compromise is acceptable since the life of a man is worth more, in our eyes, than the validation of a performance or the value of a protest (50 € remember it).
But that was nothing without discovering that in this specific case, namely when the Surface Safety Apneist felt he had to intervene, he could at any time be stopped physically by a judge so that the Rescue did not finally location.
That happened at least twice in my case, in situations where the athlete has had to resort to very important medical care afterward.
This is criminally wrong in France and is called “a deliberate failure to assist a person in danger”.
Here is the image that is sent by AIDA International to the media, the public, children, and parents of our time.
This picture is terrifying.
It erases all the work done for 25 years in terms of “Development of the Apnea”.
If you read me, whether or not you agree with my position and opinions, read these last lines:
My name is Pierre Frolla, I have contributed alongside many others since 1994 to the creation of the first international AIDA regulations. I have competed in many snorkeling competitions, enjoyed many titles and been known as a top athlete in the discipline of freediving.
I am an instructor of snorkeling, scuba diving, I am a director of a school that welcomes more than 3,000 children every year and I am a father.
I am what is called a legitimate ambassador of my discipline, my sport, my passion.
Apnea diving is my life, and Apnea diving competitions have always been an integral part of my life.
They have even been the main driver of many of my younger years.
As such, I tell you, all of you who read me:
In the current state of things, ask yourself the question of whether participating in an AIDA international freediving diving competition is not too dangerous!!!!
The current regulation, which legislates these competitions puts the practitioners at risk.
As long as this regulation and the way it is applied exist, athletes will not be protected at 100/100.
The practice of freediving is not dangerous.
The practice of freediving competition is not dangerous if it is subject to rules that go first in the sense of the safety and protection of the physical and mental integrity of practitioners.
We judge men by the image they send back and their actions. So act. Let’s act.”