Innovation and new “community” for gymnastics, says FIG President Watanabe

Morinari Watanabe, the president of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG)
Morinari Watanabe, the president of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG)

It’s all change in the world of gymnastics – as the “challenge” of 2017 has been replaced by “innovation”.

That’s according to FIG President Morinari Watanabe as he laid out his vision for 2018 and beyond.

In the New Year message to the members of the International Gymnastics Federation, Watanabe said that a proposal will be put forward to the governing body’s membership to create a new “community” beginning in 2021.

It is hoped that this gymnastics “community” “will ensure that the new Gymnastics community will be ready to start from the moment the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games reach an end”.

The “future vision” will be proposed at a FIG Council meeting in May, and feedback taken in from the global gymnastics fraternity before the plan is put forward to the FIG Congress, which is being held in Baku, Azerbaijan, in December.

From there a decision on its creation could be made.

Watanabe wrote that the creation of the community was one of the FIG’s main targets for the coming year.

He also stressed that the organisation needs to be innovative in a number of areas, including competition formats, rules, education and ethics.

Among the “future vision” for gymnastics, the FIG is attempting to integrate parkour as a new discipline, which it is also hoping will be added to the Olympic programme for Paris 2024.

“We must keep on developing gymnastics so that the sport retains its lustre in the eyes of the next generation too,” Watanabe wrote.

“To achieve this, there is something we must keep in mind.

“We must know that ‘there is no success in the future by simply extending the past’.

“The evolution of technology has drastically changed people’s ways of thinking, their values and their behaviour.

“If we just keep following the precedent of successful experiences from the past, we will not be able to achieve success in the future.

“In all aspects, just renewing something is no way to deal with the changing times.

“Now, we need innovation in Gymnastics.”