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  • Writer's pictureCaitlin Shipsides


The gymnastics community waits in anticipation for November 6th to arrive, as this date will see the FIG renew its decision-making bodies for a three-year term during its Congress in Antalya, Turkey.

Most importantly, we will see the FIG President elected. Current FIG President Mr. Morinari Watanabe (Japan) will be contested by Dr. Farid Gayibov (Azerbaijan), President of European Gymnastics to determine the successful candidate. Both candidates have a wealth of knowledge, passion and expertise to offer as FIG president. Below are some key features of each candidate’s campaign.

Mr. Morinari Watanabe (Japan)

As the current FIG president, Watanabe has continued to develop our sport with great integrity. His leadership beliefs are highly centred around listening and understanding others, and providing assistance to those in need no matter where they live.

When Watanabe became FIG President, he made 14 promises which he has reviewed as part of his campaign. Highlights of his achievements include increasing the popularity ranking of gymnastics, gaining new sponsors and establishing the independent Ethics Foundation in FIG. He also has placed great emphasis on bridging the gap in knowledge, resources and results between emerging and top performing countries, whilst continuing to support new and developing countries through their gymnastics journey.

Watanabe has discussed that not enough time was able to be dedicated to address the reform of Acrobatic and Aerobic gymnastics during this cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He stated that both are wonderful disciplines, with the advantage of a floor being the only required equipment. Watanabe believes that in order to increase their popularity, it is necessary to create a special team to implement strategies for promotion.

Moving into the new cycle, Watanabe has listed 3 major goals: gender equality, to contribute to peace and the contribution to people’s health. He believes that gymnastics should not only be promoted as the Olympic disciplines and to children, but as movement for good health in our ageing population.

Watanabe will also focus on the development of continents, sustainability and the reform of the FIG Headquarters. His long term dream is the ‘Gymnastics Olympics’, where each Olympic discipline would have their world championship in the same city over the same period of time. This would improve the profile of gymnastics and support the development of aerobic and acrobatic gymnastics. The potential positive impacts of this strategy will be analysed as the artistic and rhythmic world championships are held together this year.

Further information about Morinari Watanabe’s campaign can be found here:

Dr. Farid Gayibov (Azerbaijan)

Gayibov, the current President of European Gymnastics, brings a strong campaign to the election. His motto ‘plan, analyze, organize, action’ leads highly structured and clear goals for the development of gymnastics.

The distinctive pillars leading his campaign include:

1. Adapt Code of Points, Technical Regulations & other rules to make our sport more inclusive and attractive to the audience.

2. Increase the number of medals at the Olympics.

3. Stable and reliable relationships with partners.

4. Effective management

Gayibov has stated the importance of increasing the number of federations competing at the world championships in non-Olympic gymnastics disciplines. He has acknowledged the difficulty of developing these disciplines and notes that a different approach is needed. A recent interview has seen him advocate great support for acrobatic gymnastics, a discipline developed in Europe, noting the higher spectator numbers at the recent Acrobatic European Championships in comparison to the Aerobic Gymnastics European Gymnastics.

A strong emphasise has been placed on marketing both gymnasts and competitions to increase popularity. Gayibov has also discussed the need to implement a disability program to create a fair atmosphere to those who wish to participate in the big Games along with good governance and financial management of the sport.

Further information about Dr. Farid Gayibov’s campaign can be found here:

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