Japan’s Morinari Watanabe on 20 October 2016 was elected the new President of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).
Watanabe emerged victorious in the election after defeating rival candidate Georges Guelzec of France by a huge margin in a vote at the governing body’s Congress.
Watanabe, who is the secretary-general of Japan Gymnastics Association (JGA), won 100 of the 119 votes. Guelzec, the head of the European Union of Gymnastics (UEG), received a mere 19 votes.
With this, Watanabe became the ninth President of the FIG since it was established in 1881. He will succeed Bruno Grandi, who had held the position for 20 years.
Watanabe is due to officially take charge on 1 January 2016.
About International Federation of Gymnastics
- The International Federation of Gymnastics is the governing body of competitive gymnastics.
- It is headquartered is in Lausanne, Switzerland.
- It was founded on 23 July 1881, in Liege, Belgium.
- It is the world’s oldest existing international sports organisation.
- It was originally called the European Federation of Gymnastics.
- It had three member countries, Belgium, France and the Netherlands, until 1921, when non-European countries were admitted and it received its current name.
- The federation sets the rules, known as the Code of Points, that regulate how gymnasts’ performances are evaluated.
- Six gymnastics disciplines are governed by the FIG. They are artistic gymnastics, further classified as men’s artistic gymnastics (MAG) and women’s artistic gymnastics (WAG), rhythmic gymnastics (RG), aerobic gymnastics (AER), acrobatic gymnastics (ACRO) and trampolining (TRA).
- The federation is also responsible for determining whether gymnasts are old enough to participate in the Olympics.