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FIG president details plan for new gymnastics ‘community’

International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) president Morinari Watanabe has unveiled plans to create a new “community” for the sport from 2021.

In a New Year’s message, Watanabe said the FIG would embrace a slogan of ‘innovation’ for 2018. Details of the new gymnastics community were not disclosed, but the president said it will be outlined at the next council meeting in May.

The masterplan will then be debated by gymnastics stakeholders across the world before being voted on at December’s congress meeting. Watanabe said 2019 is envisioned as a year of transition, with the new ‘community’ initiative intended for launch following the 2020 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

In his letter, Watanabe said: “The FIG was founded in 1881 and established itself, through its long history, as an illustrious international sporting federation. We must keep on developing gymnastics so that the sport retains its lustre in the eyes of the next generation too.

“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. We need innovation. New organisational operations, new competition formats, new marketing, new rules, new education and new ethics.

“In all aspects, just renewing something is no way to deal with the changing times. Now, we need innovation in gymnastics.”