And, even before multi-sport games participation is a reality, the recognition of a single international governing has other benefits:
GAISF recognition has become the ‘gold standard’ which implies good governance by a democratic, fair, and legitimate international sports governing body.
GAISF recognition can assist with sport recognition recognition and acceptance by each country’s own sports governing bodies and governmental agencies.
GAISF recognition helps validate our sport to potential sponsors and mass media.
In many countries, GAISF recognition is a requirement in order to be eligible for funding, technical assistance, and sports training education methods. It can provide leverage for the access to and usage of training facilities.
When will the IBTF hold its first General Assembly?
The First IBTF General Assembly will be held in August 2024 after the World Freestyle Championship. This allows the IBTF to complete a full two-year cycle (2023 World Baton Twirling Championships and 2024 World Freestyle Championships). This will be a General Assembly of all the member federations (both WBTF and WFNBTA). The General Assembly will include elections for a new IBTF Executive Managing Committee, which will continue to include an equal number of representatives from the WBTF and the WFNBTA.
Why did the WBTF take the lead on GAISF membership application instead of the IBTF?
As a new organization, IBTF does not meet the rigid requirements that GAISF imposes for membership. The same is true for the WFNBTA. Although NBTA has been established in North America and Europe for many years, it has only been officially established as an international organization since 2013 and by official international federation standards it still does not meet the requirement to be classified as an International Federation (having members on at least 3 Continents). For all of the reasons above, the IBTF Executive Managing Committee felt it was important for WBTF to move forward with the application process, and an agreement was created stating that if and when the GAISF application was successful, both organizations would become a union as the International Baton Twirling Federation under the GAISF membership. WBTF did not make this application with the intention of leaving WFNBTA behind or for that matter, absorbing the WFNBTA in the future. The WBTF and WFNBTA Executive Managing Committee has worked very hard together over the past six years to create and develop the future with great consideration and compromise.
Why is Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) recognition important?
Recognition by the Global Association of International Sports Federationsor "GAISF" is the catalyst to Olympic Recognition. GAISF was founded in 1967 and is a key pillar of the wider sports movement and acts as the voice for its 125 Members, Associate Members and observers, which include both Olympic and non-Olympic sports organizations.
General Competition Information
Are IBTF competitions only for the top, elite level twirlers?
No, the IBTF Vision is to become the multidisciplinary governing body for the sport of baton twirling as recognized by the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF). This will, naturally, involve overseeing World Championship competitions but the IBTF will also have programs that provide developing athletes with international competitive opportunities.
How often are the IBTF World Championship competitions?
There will be an IBTF competition every year. These competitions will alternate between a World Baton Twirling Championship (beginning in 2023) and a World Freestyle Championship (beginning in 2024).
IF WFNBTA AND WBTF ARE PARTNERING TO FORM THE IBTF, WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO EACH OF THEM?
Both organizations will continue to exist and operate independently for a period of time until it is deemed necessary to unify all systems. Our hope is that the WBTF-WFNBTA partnership will encourage national WBTF and WFNBTA federations to also partner together within their respective countries and, ultimately, work towards unification.
Is the 2023 World Championship the first combined World Championship between NBTA and USTA?
NBTA and USTA are both national organizations in the USA. The 2023 World Championship will be the first combined world championship between the WFNBTA and WBTF international federations.
What is happening to the IBTF Grand Prix?
The IBTF Grand Prix competition is being retired. That competition demonstrated that WFNBTA federations and WBTF federations could come together in an open spirit of competition. The IBTF World Championship competitions represent the next step in that partnership.
World Baton Twirling Championship
How do athletes qualify for the IBTF World Championship or the IBTF Nations Cup?
The qualifying process is left up to each member federation. Some federations hold a qualifying competition -- sometimes along with their National Championship and sometimes as a separate competition. Some federations qualify their athletes through a year-round process. In keeping with the IBTF Philosophy Statement for Equitable Competition, Level B and Level A athletes have specific content restrictions. These restrictions apply at the Nations Cup competition itself, and should also apply during any national qualifying process.
Is the WBTF International Cup style of competition with different levels being eliminated?
No, The IBTF Nations Cup is very similar in concept to the WBTF International Cup Level A & B. With the 2023 World Baton Twirling Championship, the IBTF is introducing a companion competition, the Nations Cup. It is designed as a Tier II competition for the development of athletes around the world. Refer to the IBTF Rulebook for a more complete description.
What disciplines are involved in the World Baton Twirling Championship?
The 2023 World Baton Twirling Championship includes the disciplines of Solo, 2-Baton, 3-Baton, X-Strut, Artistic Twirl, Artistic Pair, Duet, Twirl Team, Artistic Team, Twirling Corps, and Artistic Group. The format for the competitions beyond the 2023/2024 cycle are still being established by the IBTF Executive Committee.
What is the purpose and philosophy of the Nations Cup competition and how does the IBTF ensure the Level B and Level A Nations Cup competition is fair for the athletes?
One of the main priorities of the IBTF is to support and promote the growth and development of all of our athletes worldwide.
Through the Nations Cup, we are able to provide our less experienced and less advanced athletes the opportunity to compete at a lower tiered competition while still giving them exposure to the excitement and education of the highest levels of competition as it is being held just prior to the World Baton Twirling Championships. This international experience provides avenues for learning and incentives for those developing athletes that are extremely valuable. It is also practical in the fact that there will be athletes that may have different proficiency levels between the disciplines offered at the Nations Cup, the World Majorette Championship and the World Baton Twirling Championship. Traveling only once to be able to experience and perhaps take part in all 3 of these competitions makes economic sense.
The Nations Cup though has certain strict fair play rules and penalties in place that will protect the integrity and the philosophy of the competition. There are clearly defined content restrictions which are a list of elements that an athlete can and cannot demonstrate in their program to be eligible to take part in the level A and level B disciplines. It is very important for coaches and athletes to understand that this is not a competition where the athlete can just water down or simplify their routines to be able to compete in the lower tiers. Providing this fair playing field for multiple skill levels is a vital part of the growth of our sport and all of the rules for the Nations Cup and the content restrictions etc. can be found in the IBTF World Championship Rule Book on our web site.
It is the responsibility of the coach and athlete to enter the appropriate level in the Nations Cup based on the athlete’s true proficiency of skills and experience. The IBTF expects that all member federations will respect and honor these levels in order to uphold the integrity of International competition and promote a fair competitive environment.
By reviewing the Content Restrictions (refer to the IBTF World Baton Twirling Championship Rulebook) that are in place, athletes should enter the appropriate level based on their proficiency and competitive achievement. Athletes who compete at higher skill levels throughout the year in their respective countries, SHOULD NOT have routines “watered-down” in order to meet the content restriction requirement to compete at a lower level competition. There is a specific prohibition that any athlete who has placed in the semi-finals/finals at a World Championship in any discipline may not compete in any B Level discipline at the IBTF Nations Cup.
In addition, there are extremely harsh score sheet penalties for material that violates any content restriction (10% per occurrence; e.g., 10 points per occurrence on a 100-point score sheet).
World Freestyle Championship
If those who do not currently do Short Program wish to enter the freestyle solo event in 2024, what opportunities do they have to learn Short Program?
As 2022 progresses, there will be more detailed information about the 2023 World Baton Twirling Championship that will assist everyone who is interested in learning more about Short Program (its criteria, and instructional education).
In the meantime, the WBTF website has public-available information about the Required Elements of the Short Program for Juniors - the same elements are contained in the Short Program for Seniors (the Senior division discipline also includes additional Accessory Material between these Required Elements). This would be beneficial in getting a start.
Also publicly-available on the WBTF website is the complete rules document for Short Program - the discipline is described completely in the Section 13 (Short Program) of the WBTF Policy Manual. WFNBTA athletes always have the opportunity to attend clinics and workshops in their area where Short Program is being taught and may certainly seek the services of a coach to come and present a clinic on Short Program.
What disciplines are involved in the World Freestyle Championship?
The World Freestyle Championship includes the disciplines of Freestyle Solo, Rhythmic Twirl, Freestyle Pair, and Freestyle Team. The format for the competitions beyond the 2023/2024 cycle are still being established by the IBTF Executive.
Governance and Administration
How was the IBTF Executive Managing Committee chosen?
In 2013, Executive Members from each of the WBTF and WFNBTA met to explore a partnership that would bring together all of the baton twirling athletes in the world. These individuals bring their own personal experience and commitment to sport along with their responsibility to their respective organizations. This group has continuously remained committed to the principle of balance between WBTF and WFNBTA representation.
How will the selection of IBTF leadership happen in the future?
The First IBTF General Assembly will be held in August 2024 after the World Freestyle Championship. This allows the IBTF to complete a full two-year cycle (2023 World Baton Twirling Championships and 2024 World Freestyle Championships). We expect this to be a full General Assembly where the member national federations will conduct elections according to the protocols defined in the IBTF Statutes and the Policy Manual.
Who is the IBTF Executive Managing Committee?
The IBTF Executive Managing Committee is a group of WBTF and WFNBTA representatives that meets physically once a year and conducts all other business regularly via conference meetings and email.
The current IBTF Executive Managing Committee:
Sandi Wiemers, President
Beverly Johnson, Vice President
Jeff Johnson, Secretary General
Lise Hagen Rebbestad, Treasurer
Amy Arellano Williams and Moto Tsuchiya, Sport Administrators
Christine Bel, Paola DeMarchi, Darlene King Gaboury, Dale White, Rita Schrooten, and Jackie Stewart, Technical Members
Denise Pearse and Nicky O'Neill, Executive Committee Member at Large
WBTF Athletes have been allowed to perform gymnastics but this has been restricted for WFNBTA. How will IBTF baLance that difference?
At the 2015, 2017 and 2019 Grand Prix competitions, WBTF and WFNBTA judges have agreed that the use of acrobatics, though permitted, is not given extra consideration nor will its use contribute to determining the rating and ranking of the athletes. The IBTF philosophy regarding adjudication prioritizes, first and foremost, the quality and technique of aerial work, rolls, contact material and accompanying bodywork. All other enhancements to a performance such as acrobatics, floor work, dance, novelty, etc. will not supersede the qualities and skills of achieved and developed baton twirling skills.
That approach has been used in the 2015, 2017 and 2019 Grand Prix competitions.
Beginning with the 2023 World Baton Twirling Championship, specific rules apply to each Discipline and Level. For example, in Solo:
At the World Championship, a maximum of 2 acrobatic movements are allowed, with or without a toss. One or both may be aerial.
In Nations Cup Level A, a maximum of 2 acrobatic movements are allowed, with or without a toss. The only aerial element allowed is one aerial cartwheel.
In Nations Cup Level B, a maximum of 2 single-element acrobatic movements are allowed under a toss. Aerial movements are not allowed.
In 2-Baton, acrobatic movements are not permitted at the World Championship or any Nations Cup Level. A complete description of acrobatic restrictions in all disciplines is included in the Rulebook.