For the first time in ATA history, the past presidents of the organisation are set to meet together to celebrate the history and sport of Touch. What many Touch players are not aware of is the work that the past presidents have done to ensure the sport is as well developed Australia-wide at all levels of competition, as it is today. The president has an incredibly important role in the governance and direction of our sport and the ATA has a long and distinguished roll of those who have served the sport in this capacity. They’re set to meet together this weekend, in conjunction with a Board of Directors meeting, at the Blackett Hotel for dinner and a presentation function in Sydney on Saturday evening. The ATA’s first President, Ray Vawdon held the position from in 1978-79 and Ray is one of those credited with helping Touch take off in Sydney in 1968 at Snape Park in the Eastern Suburbs. 1976 saw the Vawdon Cup played for between South Sydney, Cronulla, Newtown, Canterbury and Manly and also in Vawdon’s time the first ever NSW State Cup was held in Port Macquarie in 1977. Phil Smith (deceased) was at the helm of ATA from 1980-82 and helped to introduce the concept of a National Championships, first held in 1980. Phil is now a life member of the Australian Touch Association, in recognition of outstanding service and his vision for the sport. Peter Rooney served the Touch community not only president but also as the Chief Executive Officer, leading the sport with drive and enthusiasm and achieving many milestones especially in the International Development area. Ken Wells is the ATA’s longest serving president, holding the position from 1984-1990 and was there when the Federation of International Touch started in 1985, of which Australia was an inaugural member. Ken’s vision and drive started the process of the ATA obtaining the building it now currently owns and occupies in Canberra. He also helped initiate the first recognised International game, a test series between Australia and New Zealand and the first ever mixed competition was introduced in 1985 under his guidance. Paul Jonson worked with Ken in 1990 and then ran as president himself from 1991-93. His time encompassed many achievements, including the adoption of a new constitution, revamping technical structures and organizing the official opening of the National Touch Championships in front of New Parliament House. He also organised the official opening of the ATA building by the then Minister for Sport Ros Kelly. Russell Mowles had a huge influence on Touch at a National level while he was President from 1994-97. By 1995 the National Championships had expanded from their original three divisions, to 11 divisions. Then in 1997 Russell and the ATA helped replace the National Championships with what we now know as the National Touch League or NTL. The school of thought behind this change was that it would allow competitors to identify with a regional area and to help keep building Touch Australia wide. We certainly thank Russell for helping to bring together what we now know and love. Brian Rooney served on the ATA board from 1994-1997 as commercial director and then as president 1998-2001. After finishing as President he then rejoined board in 2002, continuing as a director and is now a life member, awarded the title in 2004. Today the Australian Touch Association is continuing to push forward in growth, development nation-wide, in its professionalism and also management. Current president Michael Sparks has been leading Australian Touch since 2001 and has recently seen the implementation of the Management restructure kick off. It no doubt promises an exciting time ahead for Michael in his role and for the entirety of the Australian Touch Association. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the past presidents for their tireless effort, time and energy that they have dedicated and continue to dedicate to the growth and development of our sport over the years.