Elite Sports & Science, a combination that is here to stay.
For Sport Vlaanderen, the governing agency overseeing sports in Flanders (the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium), Sofie Debaere is the Project Lead for this domain.
Currently, she is supervising two major technological projects.
On the one hand, there is the “Cold 2 Gold” project, where a solution is being sought for the scorching heat at the Tokyo Olympics (more details: https://www.sport.vlaanderen/topsporters/nieuws/koelende-kledij/ ), and on the other hand, together with her colleague Joachim Taelman, she is the driving force behind the set-up of the Sports Intelligence Platform Panega.
Sofie Debaere: “Belgium, and more specifically Flanders, tries to hold its own between the big nations by very consciously dealing with budgets, choosing wisely and focusing on priorities. Continuously focussing on the use of data in top sport is one of those very conscious choices.
Both we as governing agency, as well as our federations, felt the need to take further steps in this domain.
After an extensive preliminary process, we came to the conclusion that the data platform that would meet our high standards was not available on the market, and that we needed to partner with experts to have it custom developed.
We are therefore very excited about the partnership we have with the people of Panega Sports, with whom we came to this solution together”.
Sofie Debaere already looks further ahead: “Towards Paris 2024 and onwards to LA and even further, data will certainly only become more important. Information gained from AI, automatically generated data, etc. will be key, so in order not to miss that boat, the centralized storage of data is crucial.”
In the short term, Panega will enable us to find efficiencies in terms of time and operation, while in the longer term the centralized data can be a source for new insights, objectifying decisions, and other extensive retrospection”.