Grandi proud to see such a large audience

TOKYO, Oct 18, 2016: GRANDI, The 81st Congress opened on Tuesday at the Hilton Tokyo Odaiba hotel in the presence of 117 member federations called to make important choices for the future of Gymnastics.

“I am pleased to see such a large audience, much larger than when I began as FIG President twenty years ago,” said FIG President Bruno Grandi during his welcome address at the launch of the three-day meeting. “I am proud to see that the Gymnastics family has grown all around the world”, he added.

Six new federations

Extending the global reach of Gymnastics is part of his legacy and the FIG is able to welcome six new national federations this week. The Congress has unanimously accepted the admission of Aruba, American Samoa, Cameroon, Cook Islands, Fiji, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to bring the total number of FIG members to 148.

“It is also a special moment for me because it is my last Congress as FIG President. After twenty years, I am going to hand over the baton to someone you are going to choose this week,” underlined Mr Grandi who has run the FIG over the course of five four-year tenures.

Japanese Gymnastics Association President, Hidenori Futagi, said that “the 81st Congress will be an important milestone in FIG history” during his own welcome speech.

The hour of decision

The election of Bruno Grandi’s successor is scheduled for Wednesday October 19 in the morning. The member federations will have to choose between Georges Guelzec (FRA), President of the European Union of Gymnastics (UEG), and Morinari Watanabe (JPN), Secretary General of the Japan Gymnastics Association.

Both candidates for the Presidency will have five minutes to express their ideas before the ballot, with Mr Watanabe starting first.

Once the President has been elected, the delegates will choose other members of the FIG authorities who will lead the federation during the new Olympic cycle 2017-2020. This includes three Vice-Presidents and seven Executive Committee members; a President and six technical committee members for each discipline as well as for the Gymnastics for All committee; 21 Council members, five Appeal Tribunal Panel members and two auditors.

As a measure of the importance of Gymnastics – which figures among the leading trio of Olympic sports – International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach is expected to address the Congress at the opening of Wednesday’s session.

“I am proud that Gymnastics is in the first tier of Olympic sports. We have obtained this result thanks to the work we have all done together,” said Bruno Grandi.

2017-2020 quadrennial plan approved

As a consequence of this, the FIG enjoys a substantial increase in funding from the IOC and has solid reserves, as the delegates heard on Tuesday during the review of financial matters.

The general assembly has approved the accounts for 2014 and 2015. While the quadrennial plan for the cycle 2013-2016 will reach breakeven, the delegates have also accepted the next 2017-2020 quadrennial plan, which should maintain the same balance.

This first day was mainly dedicated to the reports of the FIG President and presidents of the various disciplines’ committees, who pointed out the success of the competitions at the last Olympic Games and the big improvements overseen in Gymnastics during these past two decades.

Next Congress in Baku

The delegates also had a glimpse of what could be the future for Gymnastics as they received a demonstration from Fujitsu of a technological tool the Japanese company has been developing to support judging.

This 3D system based on a laser sensor can recognise which element is being performed by a gymnast according to Fujitsu.

By helping to judge the difficulty score of a routine, it could be instrumental in bringing to Gymnastics “the photo-finish” that Bruno Grandi was dreaming for a long time.

To conclude the first day, the general assembly has assigned to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, the next Congress in 2018. —- FIG

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