A total of 60 participants from 19 countries across 4 continents joined us and the UPM Sports Academy throughout the 6-days Sports Event Management Foundation Level 1 course from September 23-30.

This maiden initiative that was organised virtually provided participants with insights into the planning, organisation and management of sporting events from Course Instructors who are experienced practitioners and experts in the industry.

As the course was organised virtually, we were able to engage 19 Course Instructors located in 10 different countries to share their knowledge and provide tips that are not obtainable from books.

At the end of the course, we conducted a survey to gauge the performance of the course in terms of content, course instructors and the organisation and the feedback that we received exceeded our expectations! All topics were rated 4 and above out of 5 and overall, the course got a rating of 4.8 out of 5!

The response and feedback that we received were extremely encouraging despite the extension of time that we had in all sessions! This could not have been achieved without the dynamic engagement of the participants during the sessions and the candor of the Course Instructors.

Time management is on our priority list to improve the next time around. Thank you to all parties involved.

The Sports Event Management Foundation Level 1 Course organised by University Putra Malaysia Sports Academy (UPMSA) in partnership with IGNITX was part of the UPMSA Three Pulse Program that was initiated 1 year ago focusing on 3 areas; Sports Management, Sports Nutrition and Sports Psychology.

The course, initiated under the area of "Sports Management" in the Three Pulse Program, provided a brief introduction and basics to the planning, organisation and management of sporting events.

UPM is one of Malaysia’s premier Universities with a long-established reputation in teaching and research, as one of the nation’s five leading research universities.

The partnership between IGNITX and the UPM Sports Academy for the Sports Event Management Foundation Level 1 course further strengthens IGNITX's mission in the pursuit of making a positive change in the sports events industry by making knowledge and experience more accessible.


Complete Course Plan and Content


Updated : 23 September 2020

Module 1 : Introduction & Planning

Date : 23 September, Wednesday

Time : 14:00h - 17:30h (Malaysian time)

  • Type of sport events and life-cycle
  • Foundation, planning and integration
  • Marketing & business development

Module 2 : Sustainability & Essential Services

Date : 24 September, Thursday

Time : 14:00h - 17:00h (Malaysian time)

  • Sustainability
  • Accommodation
  • Catering, Cleaning & Waste

Module 3 : Sport, Venues & Technology

Date : 25 September, Friday

Time : 14:00h - 17:30h (Malaysian time)

  • Registration, accreditation & access control
  • Sport & venues
  • Technology

Module 4 : Client Operations

Date : 28 September, Monday

Time : 14:00h - 17:00h (Malaysian time)

  • Workforce management
  • Protocol & hospitality
  • Media operations

Module 5 : Risk & Athletes’ Experience Workshops

Date : 29 September, Tuesday

Time : Workshop 1 : 14:30h - 16:00h (Malaysian time)

Time : Workshop 2 : 20:00h - 21:30h (Malaysian time)

  • Risk & issue management workshop
  • Athletes’ experience workshop

Module 6 : Dissolution & Legacy

Date : 30 September, Wednesday

Time : 20:00h - 22:00h (Malaysian time)

  • Dissolution
  • Legacy


Prof. Dato’ Dr. Shamala Subramaniam

  • Director, UPM Sports Academy
  • Vice President, Malaysian Olympic Council

Professor Dato’ Dr Shamala Subramaniam is a Professor in the Department of Communication Technology and Networks, Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology, Universiti Putra Malaysia. Presently she also serves as the Director of the Sports Academy and as the Chairman for Ph.D. and Master’s Thesis Supervisory Committee in Universiti Putra Malaysia. She has a high number of cited publications in reputed high impact and indexed journals and has authored chapters in books and lecture series. She has been recognized as a Member of Editorial Advisory Board in national and international journals and addresses key notes in several national and international forums.

Parallel to her academic pursuit she has displayed outstanding achievements in the field of sports. She is a Vice President of the Olympic Council of Malaysia, Deputy President of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation and an Executive Member of the Asian Hockey Federation.

Prof. Shamala is the Project Leader for the iGames System which is the Results Management System developed in partnership between UPM Sports Academy and the Malaysian National Sports Council.


Li Neo Tay

  • Co-Founder of IGNITX
  • Head of Accreditation & Sport Entries, Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games

Specializing in Sport Entries and Qualification, Registration and Accreditation Operations and Data and Games Management Systems, Li Neo Tay, one of the four Co-Founders of IGNITX started her career in the inaugural Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Since then, she has been involved in all six (6) editions of the Youth Olympic Games in her specialisation; either working directly in the Organising Committee, as an International Olympic Committee (IOC) Consultant or both. She was also part of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games Organising Committee and served as an IOC consultant for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

Together with her Co-Founders Xuan Ming Ng and Ilva Biedre, Li Neo developed the online Delegation Registration Process (DRP) at the #Innsbruck2012 and #Lillehammer2016 YOGs and successfully implemented it at the #BuenosAires2018 YOG as Head of Accreditation & Sport Entries.

Neo has also been involved in the organisation of the European Youth Olympic Festival, Summer Universiade and ANOC World Beach Games and is also currently a Consultant for the IOC Sports department and the Canadian Olympic Committee Sports Services department.


Geethanjali Lakshmayya

  • Senior Broadcast Venue Manager, Jakarta 2018 Asian Games

Geetha has over a decade of experience in press and broadcast operations, having worked with national, regional and international organisers of able-bodied as well as para sports events. She has also been part of several editorial teams, writing about sport and its people. Some of her most notable projects include the SUKOM98 Commonwealth Games, Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016 Olympics, Singapore 2010 Youth Olympics, Jakarta 2018 Asian Games and the KL2017 SEA Games.

Geetha is currently engaged by the Badminton World Federation and writes about able-bodied and para badminton.


Xuan Ming Ng

  • Co-Founder of IGNITX
  • NOC Relations Manager, PyeongChang 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Games

Xuan Ming is one of the four Co-Founders of IGNITX and although small in stature, she is the most talented and artistic in the group. She is currently pursuing a lifelong dream of teaching wilderness medicine with NOLS, but always has the Olympic Movement close to her heart. When Singapore hosted the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, Xuan Ming seized this once in a lifetime opportunity of being part of history to work alongside her fellow countrymen to bringing the whole world to her homeland. From the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games, Xuan Ming went on to work in the first 2 editions of the Winter Youth Olympic Games and the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in the International Client Relations and Services department.


Mary Ang

  • Principal Investigator, IOC Commission Research Project - Intangible Legacy of Singapore 2010 YOG: Perceptions of Young Singaporeans
  • Author, “An exploratory study on Human Legacy at the Beijing Olympics.” (to be published)

Ms Mary Ang was the Assistant Competition Manager (Handball) during the inaugural Youth Olympic Games that was held in Singapore in 2010. She was also the founder and the President of the Handball Federation of Singapore (2008 to 2013). She became the Subject Matter Expert for School Sports Program, Health Enhancement Program and Healthy Lifestyle Initiatives with Tatweer Company for Education Services Ltd based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Driven by the love to nurture youths through sports, she joins Hwa Chong International School and is currently based in Singapore. She also joins Perdana University as a Visiting Scientist where she contributes her expertise in sports data analytics and establishes academic research with industry partners from the sports, health and wellness. Her latest research on the Human Legacy at Beijing Olympics will be published in due course.


Laura Canals Cruz

  • Director of NOC Services, Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games

Laura Canals Cruz travelled across the world to work in the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Singapore. It was her first time that far from home but that experience blazed the trail for her to lead the NOC Services department when the 3rd edition of the YOG was held in Buenos Aires in 2018. She led a multicultural team that communicated with all National Olympic Committees.

In between both YOGs, she worked in the National Olympic Committee of Argentina and was responsible for training and managing over 200 volunteers at the 125th IOC Session in 2013 in Buenos Aires.

In 2019, she was appointed as the NOC Services Manager at the ANOC World Beach Games and subsequently consulted for the IOC NOC Services department for Lausanne 2020 and Tokyo 2020.


Tracie Carlsund

  • Director of Staffing, Jet Set Sports

An accomplished senior executive with over 20 years in the training, education and organisational development fields, Tracie has developed a passion for building dynamic workforces. By providing them with opportunities to develop skills, knowledge and experience that both adds value to the events and organisations they work with or volunteer for and themselves; the legacy of event workforce is brought to the fore and is a core driver to all Tracie’s work.

Tracie now works as Director of Staffing in the mega-event sector and has experience of building large teams of up to 1800 staff to work at events such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games and FIFA World Cup. Her Olympic Games experience commenced in 2000, then continued from 2008 to the current upcoming Tokyo 2020 Games. Now based in London, Tracie continues to additionally consult on and deliver corporate, non-profit and philanthropic events that support youth and facilitate their development to influence positive change.


Daniela Negreda

  • Senior Marketing Professional

Daniela Negreda is a Brazilian and Portuguese internationally experienced Senior Marketing Leader. She has know-how in both the corporate and the sport industry from working in Kimberly-Clark Corporation for 13 years and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for 7 years. Her broad marketing experience include brand building, business development, research & insights, product management and retail strategies.

During her time with the IOC, she managed the strategic development, production and implementation of the promotional brand campaign with the objective of promoting Olympic values beyond the Olympic Games period. She oversaw the development of IOC proprietary consumer and B2B research studies and broadcast data, providing customized analysis per stakeholder augmented by storytelling based on market trends. Daniela also led the development of effective fit-for-purpose sales tools. These tools were used for training, sales, and servicing of partners at all 3 levels of Olympic sponsorship resulting in various sponsorship renewals and new partners contracts with IOC, Host Cities Organizing Committees and National Olympic Committees, including the multi-million dollars deals with Bridgestone and Toyota.

Daniela is a strong advocate of education and self-development and is currently working on courses that focus on self-transformation, assisting people to find their path and develop their inner-self.


Gabriel Behr Andrade

  • Director of Sport & Venues, 2019 African Beach Games, Cape Verde

Gabriel has an extensive portfolio in worldwide international sporting events and sports organizations. His areas of operational delivery include Sport and Competition Management; Team, Athlete and Federation Relations & Services; and Venues and Operations Management.

He was the Sport Manager for the sports of Judo, Wrestling, Karate and Taekwondo at the Toronto 2015 Pan-American Games and at the 2019 Para-Swimming World Championships. His biggest and most challenging role was as Director of Sport & Venues at the 2019 African Beach Games in Cape Verde where he managed 13 sports and their respective venues.

Gabriel is also a trained sports psychologist with experience in diverse cultural backgrounds and well developed presentation and interpersonal skills.


Brenda Mariano

  • Senior Manager International Relations Dept, Tokyo 2020 Olympic & Paralympic Games Organising Committee

Brenda Mariano is now working as a Senior Manager at the International Relations bureau, for the Tokyo2020 Olympic Games.

She is a former professional volleyball player who has never left the sports universe. Working with Protocol Operations and Ceremony Operations for the past 15 years, Brenda was part of the FIFA WORLD CUP OFFICE BRAZIL 2014 managing and operating all the additional events, including Opening and Closing Ceremony, Final Draw, and Venue operations. For the RIO2016 Olympic Games, she was leading a team of almost 100 people and 2000 volunteers across all venues to deliver the Venue Protocol Operations.

In 2018, she was responsible for all Clients Services for the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games and also delivered the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Copa America 2019, in Brazil. Now, she is currently on the other side of the world from her hometown, in one of her biggest challenges - redesigning Tokyo 2020 protocol operations, postponed to 2021.


Luiz Ryff

  • IGNITX Advisor
  • Director of the Dissolution Phase, Rio 2016 Olympic & Paralympic Games Organising Committee

With over 15 years of involvement in the Olympic Movement and a lawyer by vocation, Luiz Ryff served as a lawyer in Brazil where he represented football clubs, athletes and various sport organisations across the Americas.

In 2011, Luiz left the office to take the position of General Counsel for the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics Organising Committee all the way to its delivery, and from 2016 to 2018 he took the position of Dissolution Director. He was one of the few professionals that was involved in the entire lifecycle of the games, from planning until the dissolution of the organising committee. As a result of that, Luiz developed a deep understanding of the governance, compliance, commercial, brand protection and legal aspects of delivering an Olympic and Paralympic Games which involves all stakeholders, contractors and service providers.

A curious person in search of knowledge in the global technology ecosystem and new models of digital businesses especially amongst emerging markets, Luiz is now an entrepreneur, business and strategic advisor, board member and investor in tech companies supporting them in their strategy building and growth. Luiz is also 1 of IGNITX’s Advisor.


Sonia Almeida

  • Event Management & Strategy Expert

Sonia Almeida has 30 years of experience in leading high complexity sport events and projects both at national and international levels from the planning stage to delivery. She has been involved in major sporting events such as the Volleyball World Championships, South American Games, Rio 2007 Pan American Games, Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games and recently the 2019 CONMEBOL Americas Cup.

In the 2019 CONMEBOL Americas Cup, she was responsible for defining and implementing a planning methodology. This was the first time that a planning mindset and process had been brought to the event resulting in an extensive list of planning and reference documents that serves as a knowledge legacy for future organizers.

With an outstanding ability to kick-off projects and a far-reaching vision, Sonia has a wealth of experiences identifying, training and motivating a team towards delivering an adequate level of service to assure the best client experience. She is a Law and Languages graduate with an Executive Masters (MEMOS) in Sport Management.


Ursula Veloso

  • Sport & Venues Operations Centre Manager, Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games

Úrsula Veloso has over a decade of experience in the managing and delivering large-scale multisport events including Rio Olympic & Paralympic Games 2016, Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, Pan American & Parapan American Games 2007, Napoli 2019 30th Summer Universiade and Conmebol Sudamericana and Libertadores Finals.

Expert in schedule management, risk management and strategic development of events, she was a Manager in Rio Olympic & Paralympic Games 2016 Sport Operation Centre, overseeing impact on the Games’ schedules and establishing cohesive relationships and strategic relationships at the MOC and Sports Executive Committee. In 2018, she planned, developed and managed an integrated solution for the Sport & Venue Management Operation Centre, for the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games.


Roberto Siviero

  • Associate Director at HSF Sports

Roberto brings experience from nine Organizing Committees, including two FIFA World Cups, two Olympic Games, having performed both as a consultant and as a senior manager in roles that spanned a broad range of areas, such as Operational Planning, Stadium Planning and Development, Venue Management, Competitions, Services and Operations.

He was appointed as Head of Operations for the 2019 CONMEBOL Copa America Organising Committee where he was responsible for leading the planning and delivery of the Operational areas, such as Transport, Security, Logistics, Press Operations, Broadcast, Catering, Stadium Operations and Overlay, Technology, Accreditation, Cleaning and Waste and Medical Services.

Roberto is currently the Associate Director of HSF Sports.


Raffaella Fresco

  • Project Director, International Relations Department, Tokyo 2020 Olympic & Paralympic Games Organising Committee

Raffaella Fresco is currently Project Director of the Protocol area at Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Originally from Italy, she started her involvement with major sporting events in 2003 with the Torino 2006 Winter Games and subsequently joined the organising committees of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games, London 2012 Games, Rio 2016 Games, Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games and Tokyo 2020 Games.

Her area of expertise revolves around the Olympic Family client group and services, specifically in the planning and delivering of protocol operations, dignitary services and ceremonies. In between her organising committee roles she consults for the International Olympic Committee on Olympic Family services and protocol related matters.


Geert Hendriks

  • Founding Director & Interim-CEO Sport and Sustainability International (SandSI)

Geert worked for two decades in both the private and public sector on multi-disciplinary projects. After a career in the financial industry, he transitioned into the sports industry and worked since 2012 with 40+ different international sports organisations on projects in the areas of sustainability and education, including the IOC, UEFA, FIFA, FIBA, FIVB, World Rugby, professional sports leagues (US), cities and Olympic Games Organising Committees. He (co-) authored several books, including PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics; a selection of good practices onthe United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Geert currently works as Director of Blueshift Solutions and is Founding Director and Interim-CEO of Sport and Sustainability International (SandSI).


Fatumata Seidi

  • Catering, Cleaning and Waste Planning & Delivery Manager, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee

Fa started her career in events in 2013 where she specialised in the Food and Beverage industry and a few years later in the Cleaning and Waste industry.

Fa has worked in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2014 FIFA World Cup, Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics 2016, Glasgow 2018 European Championships, Naples 2019 Summer Universiade and Dubai Expo 2020.

Fa comes from a background in Business Administration and Financial Management and worked in the Oil and Gas industry for 3 years prior to working in sport events.

Fa is currently working as Catering, Cleaning and Waste Planning and Delivery Manager for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee.


Irina Paniushkina

  • Village Allotment Advisor, Tokyo 2020 Olympic & Paralympic Games Organising Committee

Irina is an events and hospitality professional with 10+ years’ multi-national and international experience in the Russian Federation, South America, Asia and Europe.

Specializing in accommodation services, Olympic & Paralympic Village management, she started her career in sport events in 2012. Starting with Sochi 2014 Olympic & Paralympic Games, Irina has been part of the Organising Committees of the Winter & Summer Olympics and Paralympics, Asian Games, World Cup and other events in the past decade. Prior to working in sport events, Irina worked in the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Marriott International for 7 years.

Irina is currently working as an allotment advisor for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic & Paralympic Games Organising Committee.


Rosie Pili

  • Founder of Markbach International

With more than 25 years’ involvement in major sporting events, Rosie has acquired expertise in multiple functions within the Olympic movement. Her solid skills in international relations, NOC Services & Relations and her detailed understanding of what makes sport tick, mark her as a strong and reliable leader and planner.

She was the Event Organisation Manager for World Athletics, called International Amateur Athletics Federation at that time, for 17 years before moving to Austria to head the International Client Services department in the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games. Since then she has founded her own project management company for elite sporting events, Markbach International and co-created the Golden Fly Series which is an elite athletics series held right in the middle of the world's most beautiful cities.

She is also currently the Special Projects Advisor of Events for the SOS Children’s Villages International.



#IGNITX Co-Founders Li Neo Tay and Xuan Ming Ng had a fun, informational and passionate chat with Zarina and Prof. Dato’ Dr. Shamala Subramaniam from UPM Sports Academy about their maiden venture in the organisation and roll-out of the Sports Event Management Foundation Level 1 Course that will be held from September 23-30.

During this sneak preview session, Prof. Shamala provided information about the UPMSA Three Pulse Program that the course falls under and also why did UPMSA partner with IGNITX.

Neo and Ming on the other hand provided some insight about their background, the why and what of IGNITX, the course contents and instructors that come from 10 different countries and possess over a decade of practical experience in a multitude of major sporting events.

All 3 of them also expressed their hopes for the course and they agreed that this is going to be a unique course that will definitely benefit the participants.

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