The Sport Psychology workshop, which was held in the National Hospital of Sri Lanka in December 2014, was an amazing experience for all those in attendance.
This occasion was graced by the presence of Olympic silver medalist Ms. Susanthika Jayasinghe. The theme of the workshop was Performance Ehancement in Sport through Psychology.
There were about 150 participants in attendance, including coaches, masters in charge and parents from leading schools around Colombo.
Keynote speakers were Dr. Sumudu Vipulaguna Rajasinghe, presenting on the topic of Psychology in Sports and Performance Enhancement Through Psychology, and Dr. Thilinie Jayasekara, presenting on the topic of Social Cognitive Development and Balancing Education and Sports.
The 10th China National Conference on Sport and Exercise Psychology was held in November 13-16, 2014 in Shenzhen University, organized by the China Association of Sport Psychology (CASP). In cooperation with ASPASP, CASP invited Prof. Tony Morris as one of the keynote speakers. The theme of the conference was “Sport Psychology: Pursuing Excellence and Improving Health”. CASP president Prof. Yao Jiaxin, ASPASP president Prof. Zhang Liwei, ISSP president Prof. Si Gangyan and 220 participants took part in the conference and shared their studies which covered a wide range of topics, methods and populations.
The passing of Professor Atsushi Fujita is not only a great loss to the field of sport psychology in Japan, Asia and the world, but not less important – to both of us, as friends. He is deeply mourned. Atsushi’s contribution to the development of sport psychology has been invaluable on a global scale, needless to say – in Japan, where his person has been synonymous with the term “sport psychology”.
As to his major contribution to the development of sport psychology in Asia and worldwide – Atsushi was involved in the development of sport psychology internationally for more than 30 years. As a member, Vice President and President of the International Society of Sport Psychology (ISSP), he helped to shape the profession at a crucial time in its development around the world. In particular, this period has seen the expansion of sport psychology as an organized field from western countries to Asia, Africa, and South America. Professor Fujita’s influence on the establishment of sport psychology in many exciting new areas has been pivotal. Not only did he directly lead the development of sport psychology in Asia, but in doing that he provided a model that could be applied in other developing regions.
It was in 1988 that Atsushi first raised the idea of an Asian sport psychology association with support from ISSP Managing Council. It was at the Pre-Olympic Congress before the Seoul Olympics that year that Atsushi called a meeting to discuss the proposal to establish an Asian sport psychology organization. He gained immediate support for the idea from other leading figures in Asian sport psychology, who formed a working group under his leadership. Appropriately, at the ISSP World Congress in Singapore in 1989 (the first world congress on Asian soil) Atsushi presented the draft statutes, which were widely approved and the Asian South Pacific Association of Sport Psychology (ASPASP) was established. Miki recalls very well that meeting in Singapore, when ASPASP included exactly 5 persons in a little room…….including Atsushi and Miki of course.
Atsushi was elected inaugural President. We had the honor of serving ASPASP at his side for many years – Miki as Senior Vice-President and Tony, first as Secretary General and then, as Atsushi’s successor in the role of President. Atsushi continued this role in parallel with his duties as Vice President of ISSP until the untimely death of Dennis Glencross, then President of ISSP, meant that he had to take over that role, forcing him to step down as President of his beloved ASPASP. Of course, he stayed on as Past President of ASPASP and when his term as President and Past President of ISSP finished he focused his attention on ASPASP, remaining Past President for many years until ill-health precluded international travel.
In the MC-meetings, Atsushi always took a very active part, even though he sometimes seemed as though he was not attending, even sleeping….it was always a wonder for us, how he could make excellent comments directly from the state of apparently sleeping in the MC-meeting! Atsushi had a very human and funny side in his personality, next to his serious scientific work as a Professor and President of important scientific organizations. Besides, he was a really good friend- for example, he helped Miki in conducting a very unique study on Mitsuo Tsukahara; without his great help, it could not have been conducted.
Atsushi’s legacy is a healthy world body, ISSP, which is approaching its 50th birthday in 2015, now with global recognition as the world’s body, and an Asian body that has grown to maturity in what will be, during 2014, 25 years since Atsushi established it. A great leader should have a vision, a mission to be accomplished; that is precisely what Atsushi had! Under his wise leadership and guidance, we have seen ASPASP grow from the handful of colleagues he gathered in 1988 and 1989 to an organization with well over 20 associated nations, including some of the most powerful countries in the world of sport. In addition to sport, the expansion of research and applied work on physical activity for health that is characteristic of the maturing ASPASP is also critical to addressing many of the serious public health issues that are currently affecting many rapidly developing nations in Asia. Atsushi’s long-range vision, solid foundation and nurturing spirit have been key factors in the growth of ASPASP as an inclusive organization for all those interested in the application of psychology to sport and exercise.
We recognize and express our deepest gratitude for the outstanding contribution made by Atsushi to the development of sport psychology in Asia and around the world. At the same time, we fondly remember the nature of the person and the way he went about his work. Atsushi was a gentle and quietly spoken man. He earned the respect and love of all those with whom he worked because of his kindly way of working with his colleagues. That respect for his knowledge and understanding of the need to create and follow rules and procedures meant that we all listened when he spoke – even from the direct state of seemingly sleeping – and we followed his guidance in line with his great vision. For more than 20 years that quiet, gentle voice rang loudest in the development of ASPASP.
As we indicated before, the very serious, Atsushi was also known for his excellent sense of humour, especially when he had a glass of beer in his hand (but not only then, we can confirm)! Smiles and laughter certainly shared our thoughts with the weighty business of managing international academic bodies when Atsushi was around. Thus, as a person and as an academic leader, Professor Atsushi Fujita had much to admire. He was widely loved by his colleagues from all parts of the world. He will be sadly missed, but he will remain in our thoughts as we strive to emulate his achievements and the gentle, graceful manner in which he attained them.
May your soul rest in peace, old friend. We will miss you very much.
Tony Morris and Miki Bar-Eli