The IAKS could hardly have celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Congress in finer style, attracting three illustrious IOC members to the opening of its Congress – Dr. Thomas Bach, IOC Vice President, Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee, and Patrick Baumann, Secretary General of the International Basketball Federation.
For this anniversary IAKS Congress, the focus was on – among other things – upcoming major international events such as the Olympic Games 2008 in Beijing and the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa and 2014 in Brazil. To mark the award of the hosting of the 2014 World Cup to Brazil, the Brazilian international football star Pelé again visited FSB and proudly declared that his country is looking forward to hosting the tournament.
FSB also presented itself as an energetic pioneer and international leader. With 506 exhibiting companies from 39 countries, the anniversary International Trade Fair for Amenity Areas, Sports and Pool Facilities displayed new dimensions and set new records. Aquanale – International Trade Fair for Sauna, Pool, Ambience – and SOLARIA – International Trade Fair for Tanning Products and Equipment – were staged concurrently with FSB. About 30,000 people passed the turnstiles to visit this trio of trade fairs.
"And the winner is …" was the motto of the presentation ceremony for the IOC/IAKS AWARD and the IPC/IAKS Distinction for sports facilities already in operation and suitable for the disabled. The radiant victors of the two competitions are Berlin's Olympic Stadium and the Oval Lingotto in Turin. Both facilities won Gold in the IOC/IAKS AWARD and the IPC/IAKS Distinction. The IAKS had originally received entries from 88 projects from 27 countries. In the presence of IOC Vice President Dr. Thomas Bach, IPC President Sir Philip Craven and celebrities from the worlds of sport and politics, 29 sports and leisure facilities were commended on the evening of the first day of the fair. The jury awarded four Gold, four Silver and twelve Bronze medals as well as nine Special Distinctions. Seven barrier-free sports facilities received the IPC/IAKS Distinction. All the prize-winning projects were spotlighted and documented in detail in a special show at the IAKS stand.
This year, FSB and the IAKS Congress were again the focal point of the sports and leisure industry and the place to be for experts, architects, operators and personalities. Dr. Stephan J. Holthoff-Pförtner, President of IAKS commented: "In their anniversary year, FSB and the IAKS Congress have demonstrated emphatically that, worldwide from Brazil via Berlin to Beijing, they serve as the think-tank for ideas and strategies of the international sports and leisure industry for everything from small sports and leisure facilities through to the Soccer World Cup and the Olympic Games." He thanked the organizers of the trade fair and Congress for what are now 38 years of success cooperation and stressed the pronounced international flavour of the two events. "Like FSB, the IAKS Congress with 655 experts from 33 nations so far is the leading platform internationally for the design, construction and management of sports and leisure facilities."