International Gymnastics Federation awards hosting rights for World Championships

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) has awarded hosting rights for its 2023 World Championships across three disciplines, while also revamping the formats of its events.

The Belgian city of Antwerp will stage the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships. The Flemish city occupies a special place in the history of gymnastics as it was in Antwerp that the sport’s very first World Championships took place in 1903.

One hundred and twenty years later, Antwerp will host its third Artistic Gymnastics World Championships, which will take place at the Sportpaleis in late September/early October 2023.

Valencia will take the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships back to Spain for the first time since 2001. Spain has hosted the event on five previous occasions, with the Valencia Expo to provide the setting for the 2023 event from September 4-10 that year.

The English city of Birmingham has twice before welcomed the Trampoline World Championships – in 1988 and 2011 – and the Birmingham Arena complex will again play host from November 9-12, 2023.

These World Championships, the last before the 2024 Olympics, will constitute the major qualifying event for the summer Games in Paris. The FIG Executive Committee had earlier named the host cities for events in two other disciplines – the 2020 Aerobic Gymnastics World Championships, which will take place in Baku (Azerbaijan), and the World Gym for Life Challenge 2021 in Lisbon (Portugal).

Meanwhile, the FIG has opted to introduce new formats for the Artistic Gymnastics and Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships. For artistic gymnastics, the new format will come into force at the 2022 and 2023 Worlds, which will limit the number of participants to 208 in the men’s competition and 201 in the women’s.

This will allow a reduction in the overall duration of the World Championships to 11 days, compared to 15 at the 2018 event, with two training days and two competition days less.

For rhythmic gymnastics, from the 2021 World Championships, changes include that participation will be limited to 105 gymnasts in individual events, with quotas distributed between the five continents. The results of the continental championships will determine the allocation of places to each federation, with a maximum limit of three gymnasts per nation.

“Every national federation, even the smallest, must have a chance to host a World Championships,” FIG president Morinari Watanabe said. “One of the most common criticisms was that our World Championships were too long. The format changes that we have adopted will help reduce the length and the costs, help make the competition more thrilling as well as enhance the value of the continental championships.”