Lausanne (SUI) / FIG Office, May 24, 2013: The Bulgarian National Olympic Committee (NOC) has designated its college for the 2013 – 2017 Cycle. Convened in Sofia on May 9 after having re-elected Ms Stefka Kostadinova to the presidency, the General Assembly elected Ms Iordanka Blagoeva, President of Bulgaria’s Aerobic Gymnastics Union as Vice-President.
The election is a testimony to the Bulgarian sports community of Blagoeva’s commitment as a respected and recognized individual in sports in general and Aerobic Gymnastics in particular. Aerobic is indebted to her for the national and international growth that led to its hosting world championships in both 2004 and 2012.
From the left: Iordanka Blagoeva, Iordan Iovtchev, Stefka Kostadinova (FIG)
The NOC also took this assembly as an opportunity to elect as a member Mr Krassimir Dunev, icon in Bulgarian Artistic Gymnastics who took the Silver medal at the 1996 worlds in Puerto Rico (PUR) and the Bronze in Sabae (JPN) in 1995 at the Horizontal Bar. He is also provisionally elected acting President of the National Gymnastics Federation, the exclusive body affiliated to the FIG, during the absence of incumbent President Iordan Iovtchev, recently promoted to the rank of Deputy Minister for Physical Education and Sports in the Bulgarian Republic.
It is of interest to note that both President Kostadinova and her new Vice-President, are specialists at the high jump; the former having mounted an Olympic podium on two occasions. In Seoul (KOR) in 1998, she took home Silver, pocketing Gold at the Olympic Games Atlanta (USA) just eight years later. She still holds the world record in the discipline with a 2.09m jump at the worlds in Rome (ITA) as far back as 1987! As for Iordanka Blagoeva, she was a Silver medallist at the Olympic Games in Munich (GER) in 1972, Bronze in Montreal (CAN) in 1976 in the same specialty.
Lausanne (SUI) / FIG Office, May 24, 2013: Russian coach Victor Dmitrievich Narykov passed away on May 19 after a long and difficult illness. He was 73 years old.
Since its beginnings in 1972, Victor Narykov was been a pillar in Soviet and Russian Acrobatic Gymnastics, known for having masterminded a style and school that would produce several champions. He is considered by the international Acrobatic community to be one of the best coaches the discipline has ever known.
Among his school’s most titled athletes are the following world champions in their respective categories: Vasily Machugaet, Vladimir Pochivalov, and the Men’s Groups comprised of KapizIzmaylov, Victor Bystrov, Vladimir Simonov, Victor Kuralesov as well as Valery Simonenko, Vladimir Sosnin, Vladimir Fomin and Sergey Risuyev.
The FIG and the entire international gymnastics community extend their heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Victor Narykov.
FIG Acrobatic Gymnastics World Cup B
Sofia (BUL), May 9 – 11, 2013
Final act played out!
Lausanne (SUI) / FIG Office, May 15, 2013: The final act in the Acrobatic Gymnastics World Cup season drew to a close in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia from May 9 – 11, 2013. The competitions ran perfectly in the superb Armeec Arena, a venue known to FIG for having organized various events on the calendar.
All the categories were represented. With only three formations present, however, Men’s Groups were not ranked.
In Men’s Pairs, Russian Pair Ivanov (Maxim and Dmitry) took the lead with ease ahead of Kobchyk / Bobryshev of the Ukraine and Fedchanka / Kalachou of Belarus. In Women’s, Belgium carried the day with Nikki Snel / Eline de Smedt, ahead of the Russian Pair Kim / Dubrovina and Thorne / Jones of Great Britain. In Mixed Pairs, Kiley Boynton / Ryan Ward of the USA came out on top, with Franks / Rogers of Great Britain and Russia’s Ivaseva / Kurennoy in their wake. Russia, Belgium, the USA took home the Gold in this ultimate Acrobatic Pairs showdown.
In Women’s Groups, a short but legitimate victory despite a penalty for Belgium and Sanne van Overberghe / Lara Schollier / Camille Betsbrugge with 28.325 pts, ahead of the Russian Trio (28.150) and the second Belgian Group (28.235).
No podiums – no medals in Men’s who, in keeping with the regulations, went unranked with a meagre three formations (CHN, BEL, BUL).
The Staff! Great Job!
The Sofia stage concluded the 2013 Series with FIG World Cup Trophies going to Nikki Snell / Eline de Smedt of Belgium in Women’s Pairs, to Goncalo Roque / Leonor de Oliveira of Portugal in Mixed Pairs, and to Elise Matthew / Georgia Lancaster / Millie Spalding of Great Britain in Women’s Groups. No ranking for Men’s Pairs, who participated in a single event.
The Acrobatic Gymnastics caravan is getting ready for the most important event of the current cycle, where every gymnast hopes for the most coveted Gold medal, that of the IX World Games in Cali, Colombia, July 29 – 31 for Acrobatic.
About 2013 FIG Acrobatic Gymnastics World Cup Series
The 2013 World Cup season in Acrobatic Gymnastics includes two FIG World Cup competitions, taking place on March 16-17 in Maia (POR) and on May 9-11 in Sofia (BUL). Both events are category B tournaments and will feature Qualifying rounds and Finals in Men’s and Women’s Pairs, Mixed Pairs as well as Men’s and Women’s Groups.
The world ranking points collected by the competitors during the circuit will add up to a total with the top scorers in each discipline being crowned the winner of the overall series at the final event in Sofia.
The Council held a vote to elect the members of the Disciplinary Commission. The members, in order of the number of votes received, are: Paul Engelmann (SUI); Marc Schoenmakers (BEL); Rached Gharbi (TUN); Mehman Aliyev (AZE); Snezana Lakicevic (SRB); Youssef Altabbaa (SYR).
Moreover, the Council duly recognised the lawyers recently appointed by the Executive Committee, namely: Andreas Zagklis (GRE), Michelle Duncan (NZL), Karin Meseck (SUI), Daniele Moro (SUI), Matthias Scherer (SUI) and Bernhard Welten (SUI).
The proposed modifications and updates to the FIG Technical Regulations were accepted without qualification.
The Council approved the six principles which must be applied to the reworking of the competition calendar and the new criteria for qualification for the Olympic Games. These are as follows:
To keep the team competitions;
To include the best individual athletes in competition II;
To ensure the participation of the best specialists;
To guarantee the participation of all of the Continental Unions;
To take into account World Cup rankings;
To respect the principle of universality.
The 2012 accounts and the revised budget for 2013 were approved.
The competition fees are to be maintained at their current levels.
The national federations of Bahrain (BRN), Cape Verde (CPV), Honduras (HON), Macedonia (MKD), Nepal (NEP) and Turkmenistan (TKM) have been suspended due to their repeated failure to meet their financial obligations. To recap, the federation of Botswana (BOT) was also suspended in 2012.
Further to the proposal by the Statutes Commission and the Executive Committee, the Council accepted the provisional admission to the FIG of the national federations of Afghanistan (AFG) and the Cayman Islands (CAY).
The 37th edition of the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in 2019 were awarded to Azerbaijan (AZE) and will take place in the city of Baku.
The Council approved the proposal of the Executive Committee with regard to the deadline for the registration of candidates to host competitions, which shall henceforth be four years for world championships and five years for the World Gymnaestrada.
The Council approved the proposal of the Executive Committee with regard to the deadline for the registration of candidates to host competitions, which shall henceforth be four years for world championships and five years for the World Gymnaestrada.
Liverpool (GBR) / FIG Council Office, May 09, 2013: The six members of the new FIG Disciplinary Commission have been elected. The vote designated Mr Paul Engelmann (SUI), Mr Marc Schoenmaekers (BEL), Mr Rached Gharbi (TUN), Mr Mehman Aliyev (AZE), Ms Snezana Lakicevic Stojacic (SRB) and Mr Mohamad Youssef Altabaa (SYR). This election took place on May 9 -10, in Liverpool (GBR), at the occasion of the 13th FIG Council.
In the future and for each open case submitted, the FIG will designate a panel of 3 persons, one member appointed from among the 6 elected above and 2 lawyers from the 6 newly designated by the Executive Committee: Atty. Andreas Zagklis (GRE), Michelle Duncan (NZL), Karin Meseck (SUI), Daniele Moro (SUI), Matthias Scherer (SUI) and Bernhard Welten (SUI).
These elections come into force with immediate effect.
Lausanne (SUI) & Liverpool (GBR), May 08, 2013. AGU/phs
EC Official News
• The following nationality changes were approved: Aliaksandra Platonova (RG), from RUS to AZE; Anna Svirina (RG) from RUS to ARM; Naoya Tsukahara (MAG) from JPN to AUS; Ruslan Aghamirov (TRA) from RUS to AZE; Katrine Field-Hagelund (RG), from NOR to NZL.
• The requests for FIG affiliation from the federations of Afghanistan (AFG) and the Cayman Islands (CAY) were approved. A final decision on whether to affiliate them will be taken by the FIG Council.
• Ali Zaater (ALG), who was elected as head of the African Gymnastics Union (UAG) on 25 April 2013, will henceforth take up the place previously occupied by his predecessor Mohamed Yamani (ALG) on the FIG Executive Council. Additionally, the UAG has announced the creation of a new Gymnastics for All Committee.
• The proposal to transform World of Gymnastics magazine into a digital publication was approved. However, 1,000 copies of it will continue to be published in the current format.
• The Executive Committee authorised the FIG Presidential Commission to make the necessary provisions with regards to the publication of the findings of the FIG Disciplinary Commission concerning the Rhythmic Gymnastics judges’ courses in Bucharest (ROU), Moscow (RUS) and Alicante (ESP).
• The members welcomed the signing of the major partnership agreement between the European Gymnastics Union (UEG) and Kapital Bank of Azerbaijan.
• The Executive Committee will propose that the Council changes the deadline for the registration of candidates for the organisation of the World Championships and the World Gymnaestrada: for the World Championships, 4 years prior the event, for the World Gymnaestrada, 5 years.
• The modifications to the World Cup Regulations, as well as the regulations for the Judges’ Evaluation Programme (JEP) and its application were accepted.
André F. GUEISBUHLER Secretary General
The next meeting of the FIG Presidential Commission and Executive Committee will be held in Lausanne (SUI) / FIG Office, November 18 to 23, 2013.
Algiers (ALG) / UAG Head Office, April 25, 2013: The day after the election of the new President of the Union of African Gymnastics (UAG), Ali Zaater (ALG), his predecessor, Mohamed Yamani (ALG), delivered an assessment of his 23 years at the helm of the UAG.
Yamani was one of the signatories of the declaration that gave birth to the Union in Algiers back in October 1990, at the time of the inaugural African Gymnastics Championships. Prior to the official formation of the Union there had been numerous discussions and soundings on the topic, most notably in Tunis in 1988, aided by the enthusiastic support of Prof. Bruno Grandi, who was then FIG Vice-President.
In November 2011, an extraordinary general assembly took place in Gand (BEL), which was at the time hosting the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships. The assembly ratified the UAG’s statutory and regulatory documents, which were drafted to conform with the recent organisational and structural changes at the FIG.
Since 2005, the presidents of each of the continental unions of the FIG have held a seat on the FIG Executive Committee. This has had significant benefits in terms of information flow and dissemination of the decisions taken by the FIG, and has also improved coordination, in particular with regard to the scheduling of the international event calendar.
The UAG and the South Africa Gymnastics Federation will welcome the 2nd World Gym For Life Challenge, in July 2013.
As new UAG President, Ali Zaater has both the profile and experience to carry out his mandate with calm authority. A former gymnast, who subsequently served as an international judge, President of the Algerian Gymnastics Federation and Vice-President of the Algerian NOC, which he continues to serve as Chief of Staff, he will now be looking to bring his experience and knowledge to bear for the benefit of the entire African continent.
The membership of the UAG executive body for the period 2013-2016 is as follows:
Jerry Massia Matome
Ehab Amin Ahmed Esawy
Rached Mohamed Gharbi
Valereis Geldenhuys Venter
The presidents of the UAG’s technical committees for the same period are as follows:
Gymnastics For All
Men’s Artistic Gymnastics
Women’s Artistic Gymnastics
Yasmine S. A. Kelada Antoun
Helena van der Walt
In other news, South Africa has been chosen to host the 2014 African Artistic Gymnastics Championships.
Algiers (ALG) / Lausanne (SUI) / FIG Office, April 17, 2013: The African Gymnastics Union (UAG) has elected a new President, Ali Zaater (ALG). He succeeds Algerian Mohamed Yamani, who after twenty years in office has stepped down. The new president swept the elections in a large majority win over Faycel Ben Ali Zemni of Tunisia, after Jerry Masia withdrew his candidacy at the last minute.
The former and the new UAG President. From the left: Mohamed Yamani and Ali Zaater.
At the close of the elections, Ali Zaater said he was “very pleased and proud to succeed Yamani, a man who stands as a model for each of us to follow, and whose qualities it will be difficult to match. These past months have been extremely tense, but things have turned out well. I was surrounded by competent people as well as a very crucial spirit of solidarity. Every entity involved extended solidarity and support, the Algerian Gymnastics Federation, the Algerian Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Youth and Sport: it was a national endeavour.”
For twenty years, Ali Zaater held the offices of UAG Secretary General and Chief of the Cabinet with the Algerian NOC. His experience and natural approach to people underpinned his ability to manage twenty-four Union member national federations. Some of the more weighty issues facing the new president include Olympic qualification for African gymnasts, regional support and the training of technicians.
The new UAG panel. From the left: Norbet Bueche (FIG), Ali Zaater (UAG), Mohamed Yamani (ALG), Albertine Goncalvez (SEN), Jerry Masia (RSA).
For this reason, Ali Zaater says he will reinforce contact with the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), with whom he shares close ties, for their participation at numerous assemblies and world championship events.
FIG Hon. Vice-President and former Secretary General, Mr Norbert Bueche, representing FIG President Prof. Bruno Grandi in Algiers, thanked the outgoing president for his consistent work, and extended his support and wishes for success to Ali Zaater in his new role.
The new UAG President will officiate for the first time in his term at the 13th FIG Council in Liverpool (GBR) in May.
Lausanne (SUI) / Tokyo (JPN), April 11, 2013: On April 8, 2013, the Nippon Sport Science University (NSSU) in Tokyo granted the title of Dr Honoris Causa to Prof. Bruno Grandi (ITA), President of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG). The distinction pays tribute to the professor’s career and stellar work inside international sport over more than fifty years.
A national-level gymnast as a teenager, coach and selector for Italy’s Men’s team, President of his federation, Vice-President of the Italian NOC, recipient of the Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit distinction, international judge and FIG President since 1996, Bruno Grandi has devoted his entire life to gymnast education and preservation, the reform and development of national and international structures and the fight for sport justice. He is unanimously applauded by his colleagues for his experience, integrity and enthusiasm.
The ceremony was held at Tokyo’s Nittaidai University in the presence of highly respected Japanese sport and scholarly authorities, notably Masato Mizuno, Noriyuki Ichihara, ChiharuIgaya, Vice-President, Executive Director and Honorary Member of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) respectively; as well as Hidenori Futagi, President de la Japan Gymnastics Association (JGA), and Ryosho Tanigama, Shigeaki Abe and Daizo Hakamada, President and Vice-Presidents of Nippon Sport Science University (NSSU) respectively.
In his speech, Prof. Grandi expressed a commitment to taking up the challenge faced by gymnastics, particularly in terms of ethics and the development of the discipline’s artistic content. “My gratitude to Japan’s sport and scholarly authorities; I applaud the immense gymnastic culture and tradition that your country continues to foster today. This title honours the international gymnastics community to which I have devoted my entire career, and which I continue to serve. I am proud of how far we’ve come, and look forward to the objectives and mission I have embraced and with which the 130 FIG affiliated federations have entrusted me through a new mandate at the head of the FIG,” said the President at the close of the ceremony.
Algiers (ALG) / UAG Office; April 9, 2013: With sixteen nations signed up and confirmed – making all federations traditionally registered with the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) and its African Gymnastics Union (UAG) accounted for – the UAG Elective General Assembly will get off to an auspicious start on April 13 – 14 in Algiers.
Participants will examine the content and implementation of the quadrennial 2013 – 2016 programme, and study every area of UAG activity with two major objectives in mind: African selection for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro (BRA) and a development programme to meet existing expectations.
The assembly will also be a time to re-elect leaders, a new phase that promises to be full of unforeseen developments. Outgoing President and UAG founder, Mohamed Yamani, formally steps down from his mandate after twenty-three years of service, making room for one of the three running candidates: Mr Fayçal Zemni – President of the Gymnastics Federation of Tunisia, Mr Ali Zaater, candidate of the Algerian Federation, and Mr Jerry Masia – President of the South African Gymnastics Federation. The election is wide-open.
A large number of candidates have registered for the election of three Vice-Presidents, representing each of the geographical regions. The same is noted for seats on the Executive Board and various Committees.
The assembly will have the honour of the presence of FIG President, Prof. Bruno Grandi, as well as Honorary Vice-President and former Secretary General, Norbert Bueche.
A page is turning in the history of the Union, one which dates back to 1990.
FIG Gymnastics for All, Technical Committees and Athletes' Commission Meetings
Lausanne (SUI), February 18 – 21, 2013
LAUSANNE (SUI), FIG Office, March 6, 2013: Following the official Transfer of Powers ceremony held at the Hotel Mövenpick in Lausanne (SUI) on February 17, 2013, the newly formed FIG Gymnastics for All Committee, the Technical Committees for all FIG disciplines as well as the Athletes' Commission took up their work for the 2013 - 2016 Olympic Cycle. Meetings took place from February 17 – 21 in the Olympic Capital and it was a good opportunity for members from the various committees to get to know one another better.
Gymnastics for All
Over the course of three days, a key discussion within the FIG Gymnastics for All Committee hinged on its business plan for 2013-2016. Under the direction of committee president Margaret Sikkens-Ahlquist (SWE), members exchanged ideas on their vision, mission, goals and actions to be summarised in a ground-breaking document designed to guide the committee through the cycle. The committee will focus mainly on development, education and events at the international, continental and national level.
Regarding the 2nd World Gym for Life Challenge on July 10 – 14 in Cape Town (RSA), the committee is excited to announce the registration of 1,200 participants as well as the identification of event evaluators and feedback consultants. Members took the opportunity of this kick-off meeting to communicate with representatives of the 3rd World Gym for Life Challenge that is scheduled to take place in 2017 in Vestfold (NOR).
As for the Gymnastics for All flagship event, the World Gymnaestrada, the first informational meeting for the 2015 event will be held in the host Helsinki (FIN) on September 6 – 8, 2013; invitations are in progress.
Exciting times ahead for the GFA Committee with the approach of the Foundation and Join the Gymnaestrada courses planned for 2013 and 2014.
Men’s Artistic Gymnastics
The Men’s Technical Committee meeting began with a farewell to past long-time members Adrian Stoica (president) of Romania, Sawao Kato of Japan, and Istvan Karacsony of Hungary. New president Steve Butcher (USA), with four new members present, reviewed how the committee will operate during the cycle and their prevailing philosophy, outlining service to the Men's Artistic Gymnastics community and federations.
The group used this time to select the D-jury judges for the 2013 World Championships, finalise version 2 of the Code of Points to be available in the next 30 days, review the Intercontinental and International Judges' Courses and revise parts of the presentation materials; they also wrote a proposal for the upgrade of a judge's category during the cycle. The committee has announced its commitment to producing new materials designed to better educate and prepare judges for competitions.
Women’s Artistic Gymnastics
In a meeting with the Women’s Technical Committee, FIG President Bruno Grandi (ITA) highlighted the common philosophy that must continue to guide the development of the Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Code of Points. Grandi stressed that the Tables of Difficulty should reflect work based on study and scientific value in the aim of ensuring consistency while avoiding constant change. The President reminded members of their duty to guarantee sports justice, which is the philosophy he urges TC members to follow, before suggesting that the judges’ evaluation system be reviewed. Grandi closed by expounding on the development of a new Olympic Qualification system for the next cycle and a common initiative to make FIG events more attractive.
Under the new presidency of Nataliya Kuzmina (RUS), the Rhythmic Gymnastics Technical Committee discussed technical responsibilities for the current year, including the 32nd World Championships in Kiev (UKR) and the new Code of Points.
Time was given to exploring areas of adjustment and improvement related to Olympic qualification, the role of the Superior Jury, Intercontinental Judges’ Courses and coach education through the Academies based on the FIG Executive Committee meeting and discussions with FIG President Bruno Grandi (ITA), first Vice-President Slava Corn (CAN), and General Secretary André Gueisbuhler.
The committee was pleased to review the first World Cup of 2013 as well as videos of apparatus elements submitted by two national federations that were confirmed as good examples of Mastery, a new component of Difficulty. Both are good indicators that the gymnasts and coaches are working hard, generating innovative apparatus ideas with the new Code of Points.
Two of the main topics on the Trampoline Technical Committee’s agenda were a look back over the judges’ courses held thus far and the Olympic Games qualification process.
Committee president Horst Kunze (GER) and his colleagues pointed out ambiguity and discrepancies in the General Judges Rules, equally noticed by other TC presidents. A proposal outlining slight adjustments to these rules will be forwarded to the Competition Commission and Executive Committee for the benefit of the national federations.
Following the idea of a new qualification system for the Olympic Games, the committee discussed and finalised a first working proposal for the Competition Commission that includes the World Cups as part of the qualification process.
On the Aerobic Technical Committee’s programme for this working day was the development of the discipline on all five continents, not only with regard to the number of federations but also the quality of athletic performances.
What collective and individual strategy should be put in place to reach a 100-federation objective?
What plans and activities should be undertaken for the four years to come?
A moment was given to examining both past and future Intercontinental Courses and International Judges Courses, updating of the Code of Points, evaluating new elements submitted by the federations, the Age Group programme and to the elucidation of Aerobic Dance and Aerobic Step.
The final topics to be addressed involved preparation for this year’s competitions:
• The four FIG World Cups in France, Japan, Portugal and Bulgaria
• The 9th World Games in Cali, Colombia
• The Gymnasiade, a school multi-sport event where Aerobic takes its place for the first time alongside Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics in Brasilia (BRA), November 27 – December 4, 2013, and for which provisional registration has just been completed for national educational entities.
This first meeting was the backdrop for an official welcome to the new athletes’ representative, Aldrin Rodriguez (MEX), elected by his peers at the last World Championships in Sofia (BUL) in June 2012. Aldrin succeeds Ana Macanita (POR) who, over the past two cycles, did an excellent job, carefully maintaining TC-athlete communication. The baton has been passed: “Thank you, Ana, for your sterling collaboration of the past few years; and welcome, Aldrin, to this passionate undertaking and to the path we now follow side by side.”
The framework has been set for Aerobic to develop, and it’s up to the sport’s many actors, federations, coaches, judges and gymnasts to get that done.
The main topics on the agenda of the Acrobatic Gymnastics Technical Committee led by new TC President Rosy Taeymans (BEL) included discussions and decisions on the protocol relating to the running of TC meetings, professionalism and committee procedures. Members were given an opportunity to outline their strengths and background in the sport and to propose the areas in which they felt they had an interest and expertise. Confirmation of assignments will be confirmed at the next meeting.
The committee agreed to support FIG President Bruno Grandi’s wish to incorporate an acrobatics show programme in conjunction with World Championships of other FIG disciplines in cooperation with Cirque du Soleil.
Following the idea of standardisation within FIG Gymnastics disciplines, the Acrobatic committee will develop a technical deduction table for perfect execution. Moreover, one of the TC’s goals is to simplify the rules and Tables of Difficulty significantly, while it will be receptive to the Acro community’s position regarding drastic changes.
Finally, two former TC members will undertake an approved project at the forthcoming World Cup events to assess the impact of the new Code of Points and the Tables of Difficulty.
The Athletes’ Commission, presided by Jani Tanskanen (FIN), warmly welcomed their newest member Aldrin Rodriguez (MEX) for Aerobic Gymnastics, who made a very promising debut at his first meeting.
During their meeting, the commission concentrated on how they can support gymnasts during their careers as well as throughout the post-career transition.
Furthermore, members discussed ways to tackle the challenge of finding new representatives for certain disciplines, currently for Trampoline and Acrobatics. Former commission member Dmitri Poliaroush (BLR), who was elected to the Trampoline Technical Committee, and Germany’s Sabrina Hegele, who stepped down from the commission after Frank Boehm of the same national federation was elected to the Acrobatic Technical Committee, will need to be replaced. The Athletes’ Commission emphasised that the most important quality for new candidates should be their commitment to do the job.
Commission members reviewed their working methods with the focus on greater efficiency, before discussing several decisions taken by the FIG Executive Committee. To some of these topics a response or statement was made.
FIG Academy and Age Group Programme Working Groups
Lausanne (SUI), January 29 – February 12, 2013
LAUSANNE (SUI), FIG Office, February 14, 2013: A two-week series of meetings held between January 29 and February 12, 2013, at the FIG Headquarters in Lausanne (SUI) reviewed all aspects of the FIG Academy and Age Group Programmes.
Each of the meetings was led by FIG 1st Vice President Slava Corn (CAN) who has the responsibility for the FIG Executive Committee to oversee the education programmes and by Hardy Fink, the Director of FIG Education and Academy Programmes. Also attended part-time was Olivia Bille Peña, the Manager of FIG Education Programmes. Meetings with the review groups for the individual disciplines were held for those disciplines which had changed sufficiently in technical or Code of Points requirements that these needed to be studied for implementation within the coach education programmes.
The first meeting was with Nicolas Buompane the FIG Deputy General Secretary and Olivia Bille-Peña and was intended to deal with all administrative financial aspects including a review of the academy policies and the age group programme as well as determining future directions which included the possibility of gradually expanding the Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastics age group programme to other disciplines.
A meeting with the FIG Anti-doping & Medical Managers, Chantal Steiner and Loïc Vidmer reviewed the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) requirements and online offerings. It was confirmed that this mandatory WADA online education and examination tool would become an academy requirement for all coaches and would be introduced and explained during the opening session of each academy. More details on both of these developments will be provided in coming weeks. The group also met with the FIG media and IT staff – Philippe Silacci (Media Operations Officer), Olivier Strebel (Marketing & Communications Director), and IT Managers Genghis Gossin and Pierre Droz – to discuss improvements in the way the coach education initiatives which include age group programmes, academies and Olympic Solidarity courses could be presented and accessed on the FIG website. In addition, Hardy Fink gave a two-hour presentation for all of FIG staff on the academy and age group programmes.
The review groups for the various disciplines were not the same as the Academy Working Groups that had initially developed the curriculum and resources, but they did include some of those persons and also other frequent academy experts as well as two Technical Committee Presidents. The first such review meeting was with Aerobic Gymnastics to which were invited Mireille Ganzin (FRA), the Aerobic Technical Committee President, John Atkinson (GBR), the former TC president, Valerie Grandjean (FRA), the French National High Performance Director and former National Coach and Keith Russell (CAN) the President of the FIG Scientific Commission.
That meeting was followed by a similar review meeting for Acrobatic Gymnastics to which were invited Rosy Taeymans (BEL), the newly elected TC president for that discipline, Laurenço França (POR), the Portugal National Coach and Keith Russell. Rui Vinagre who works as Sports Events Manager within the FIG Office for that discipline also attended part of the meeting.
Finally a meeting to review Rhythmic Gymnastics included Nadya Aleksandrova (GBR) the former National Coach of Bulgaria and Great Britain, Natalia Gorbulina (RUS) one of Russia’s national Coaches, Lasse Nettum a music and RG expert from Norway and Eunice Lebre, an RG expert who currently works in the FIG Sports Department. FIG President Bruno Grandi (ITA) visited that meeting to offer encouragement and direction for the ensuing work and thanked the participants for their efforts.
In between these meetings, the FIG Academy Programme managed to squeeze a four-day working meeting with Ivan Čuk of Slovenia and Hardy Fink to revise and update and/or produce the three levels of technical manuals for Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastics. Keith Russell was able to stay for the first day of those workdays. All 18 manuals – two disciplines, three levels, three languages – will be ready by this summer for all future academies.
It was an incredibly busy and productive two weeks that left all participants with much work to complete in the coming months and which should improve all aspects of the FIG coach education offerings. Technical manuals will be updated, technical lectures and resources will be modified and improved and theory lectures will be revised where necessary. Revised academy policies will be available in full and also as a single-page easy to understand summary page.
FIG Acrobatic Gymnastics International Judges’ Course
Lilleshall (GBR), January 10 – 13, 2013
LAUSANNE (SUI), FIG Office, January 15, 2013: Top Acrobatic Gymnastics judges from around the world convened in Lilleshall (GBR) for their Intercontinental Judges’ Course for the 2013 – 2016 Cycle on January 10 – 13, 2013. Under the direction of Tonya Case (USA), outgoing FIG Acrobatic Gymnastics Technical Committee President, and hosted by British Gymnastics, the course exclusively targeted judges officiating at FIG international competitions, World Cups, World Championships and the World Games.
A total of 42 participants from 19 different federations and representing the Continental Unions of Europe, Africa, Pan America and Asia participated in this course. It is the only opportunity for judges to certify in the highest brevet category of four, Category 1. Candidates were extremely well prepared and are clearly ready for competitions around the world throughout the 2013 – 2016 Olympic Cycle.
The judges at the course were introduced to new rules for the upcoming cycle. The course focused on the two major changes for the 2013 cycle: The new Tables of Difficulty and a new system of judging artistry. The new Tables are a simplified format, but it takes time to adapt to the new version. The assistance of federations to review and correct the huge document was much appreciated.
Artistry Judging is the only major change to the Code of Points for the 2013 cycle. The new rules make it possible to apply logical penalties. At the same time, it makes it much easier to reward special exercises that go beyond the rules by evoking emotional reaction.
This Intercontinental Course also served as the final event lead by the 2009-2012 FIG Acrobatic Gymnastics Technical Committee, marking the concluding function of XII cycle TC members before the Change of Powers Ceremony in February. All course participants bid farewell to TC members Raul Manuel Fonseca Correia (POR) and Wieslawa Milewska (POL) and welcomed Rosy Taeymans (BEL), who took over the TC presidency for the new cycle. Newly elected TC members Nikolina Hirstova, (BUL), Frank Böhm (GER) and Yuriy Golyak (UKR) were present for the course and took exams alongside the rest of the candidates.
Special thanks go out to British Gymnastics who provided good conditions and assured smooth running and excellent organisation of the course in Lilleshall; a full success. The organisational support from Steve Green was much appreciated. Thanks also to Lindsey Gulliver and Kathyrn Bonner for their technical support.
Following this Intercontinental Judges Course, a gamut of international judges’ courses organised by FIG member federations will be held over the coming months, with the first one to be held in Visaginas (LTU) on February 3 - 6, 2013. International judges’ courses are designed to give national Gymnastics federations the opportunity to train their judges on site in order for them to renew, confirm or improve their brevet category.
Doha (QAT) AGU Office, January 10, 2013: Mr Ali Al-Hitmi (50), President of the Qatar Gymnastics Federation (QGF), has been re-elected for another four-year term by delegates attending the General Assembly in the Qatari capital of Doha, December 25, 2012.
President Al-Hitmi is a former FIG Council Member (2009 – 2012), and as of January 1, 2013 a Member of the FIG Executive Committee, following his election at the recent FIG Congress in Cancun (MEX), October 2012.
The election of the QGF President to the FIG Executive Board reinforces Asian Union presence among the authorities of the international Federation; the Union is, incidentally, led by Mr Abdulrahman Al-Shatri, also of Qatari origin.
In his electoral speech, President Al-Hitmi declared his commitment to the development of gymnastics within his national federation, as well as locally and internationally. Qatar has been demonstrating impressive progress through the organisation of an annual FIG Circuit Challenge Cup competition in Artistic Gymnastics every March, and by training gymnasts with a growing international performance level.
On the programme for Qatari gymnastics this year: two international judges courses for Men’s and Women’s in March, a sixth edition Challenge Cup on March 27 – 29, and the Arab Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in December.
The Qatar Olympic Committee has endorsed the re-election of Ali Al-Hitmi as President in recognition of his contribution to the development and expansion of gymnastics in Qatar and beyond.
At the close of elections, the QGF Board includes (from the left): Mr Mohamed Al-Jabir, Secretary General; Mr Ali Al-Hitmi, President; Mr Abdulrahman Al-Qahtani, Member; Mr Fawaz Al-Zarraa, Member; and (not in the picture) Mr Mohamed Al-Maragui, Member.
Established by decision of the FIG Executive in February 2012, the FIG Order was awarded for the first time Mr. Hidenori Futagi (JPN), President of the Japanese Gymnastic Association, and member of the FIG Foundation. This distinction honors the many humanitarian organized and funded by philanthropist in the world of sport and more particularly that of gymnastics.
PORTRAIT OF A DISCRETE GENTLEMAN
Hidenori Futagi san, 75 years old, is a well-known Japanese economic figure. He is the former head of the number 1 supermarket chain Aeon, which he established himself in Japan. A shrewd businessman, he created a line of low-cost products, from groceries to electrical appliances, and put them on the market. His success was instant.
However, his approach was not purely commercial. With a visionary, he realized quickly that the risk of high economic growth will affect children. He felt it is a mission for him to raise them in physically and mentally.
AEON Co., Ltd. is the largest company in Japanese retailing industry, 17th in the world (5 trillion yen in terms of sales in 2011), actively engaging in social action programs. More than 2 million trees have planted in Japan, China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and some African countries with a tree-planting campaign. AEON Co., Ltd. has built 140 schools in Cambodia, 57 in Nepal and 120 in Laos, 326 schools in total, has provided opportunity to study in school for more than 200,000 children with a partnership with the Japan Committee for UNICEF. 30 more schools will be opened in Vietnam by the end of this year and construction of 30 schools in Myanmar by 2016 has projected.
He chose Gymnastics.
Also he established Japan Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation in 1993. His concept was to run the clubs individually and to train the gymnasts for Olympic at the same time as business success. He insists that the prevalence and the strengthening are like “both sides of the wheels”. Not having either of these, you cannot go forward. Many people felt the same and the number of the clubs became over 600 in Japan.
Through Gymnastics, Hidenori Futagi has instigated some spectacular initiatives on behalf of child prisoners of conflict, refugees, and gymnasts among the poorer communities or, more recently, victims of devastating earthquakes and tsunamis. His name is never mentioned and his appearances are discreet. His priority is the victims, and the spotlight belongs to them.
Hidenori Futagi leads his humanitarian campaigns with modesty and restraint.
Tragedy closer to home
On March 11, 2011, along with millions of television viewers around the world, Hidenori Futagi watched helplessly as nature brought its terrible force to bear on the Sendai region of his own country. It was a disaster that shook Japan and the world was consumed with emotion.
But while some submitted to self-interest and refused to support the organization of the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in October, seven months later, Hidenori Futagi reached out to gymnasts from 81 different countries and conducted a campaign of solidarity uniting victims of the disaster with the international gymnastics community. Persistent, consistent and persuasive, the campaign delivered its message with quiet efficiency and restored the confidence of the gymnastics community.
On October 11, 2011, seven months after the earthquake and deadly tsunami, Hidenori Futagi was in Sendai, along with FIG President Prof Bruno Grandi, to honour the victims. And five days later, on October 16, in front of the television cameras of Fuji TV and during the final medal ceremony at the World Gymnastics Championships, there was a cheque for US$100,000 that he had donated to the Japanese Red Cross for the reconstruction of the disaster areas.
A gesture from the heart
But the true personality of Hidenori Futagi is much more than just a patron or a philanthropist. Both mischievous and curious, he enjoys travelling, discovering and meeting people. He is a bon-vivant who relishes sampling all of earth’s riches with his wife, who follows him everywhere.
As noted by FIG President Grandi, "it is also an example to follow in terms of Fair Play, accepting decisions, bending the rules with respect for institutions. His selfless attitude, giving much and asking little, earned him the esteem of all.
His contribution in the Gymnastics Community started in 1993 as a President of the Japan RG Federation. In 2001, he became the President of the Japan Gymnastic Association and a councilor of the Japanese Olympic Committee. Between 2001 and 2006, he also served as President of the Asian Gymnastics Union (AGU). Since 2009, he is a member of the FIG Foundation.
He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Himeji-City (1974-), Board member of AEON Environmental Foundation (1991-), Board member of Japan Flower Promotion Center Foundation (1991-) and Chairman of Institute for the Fashion Industries in Japan (2000-)
In 1993, he was selected for the prime minister’s trade award. In 1995, he won the Medal with Purple Ribbon, for contributions to academic fields, arts and sports.
The man symbolizes everything that Japan has elevated to a cardinal virtue, namely education, sophistication, and the elegance of a discreet gesture. Not to mention the effectiveness of a Samurai sword.