The President's Note N° 10 - 2020

Dear members of the Gymnastics family!  

In September, the “ice was broken” and things started to move. I, as many of you, did not leave my home due to COVID-19 for the last 6 months. All we could do during this period was communicate online and support each other. We discussed details on how to move forward in the given circumstances, and now our main goal is to support our sport and help our athletes and coaches return to competitions. When I travelled to Kyiv (UKR), my first trip since February, and attended the Deriugina Cup in Rhythmic Gymnastics (September 9-12, 2020), I saw that life goes on and things can go back to the way they were. It was a pleasure to see familiar faces again. I express my gratitude to the Organisers for the efforts to adapt to given conditions.

This event gave me an opportunity to visit the venue where the European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships is planned to be held from 26 to 29 November. I, together with the General Director of European Gymnastics Lisa Worthmann, discussed some details with the Local Organising Committee (LOC). The presence of the Minister of Youth and Sport of Ukraine Vadym Gutzeit at the Opening Ceremony of the competition and the athletes’ draw for the Europeans, showed the support given by the government to this event.

In the same month, two more competitions in Artistic Gymnastics took place. I would like to thank the Organisers of the Ukrainian International Cup 2020 in Kyiv (UKR / September 26-27, 2020) and the FIG World Challenge Cup in Szombathely (HUN / October 2-4, 2020) for their efforts and we recognise the difficulties they have had in the preparation process.

Thus, the number of organised competitions is increasing in the pandemic period, and we gain more experience in organising the events in the given circumstances. We may need this experience, as we still do not know, how the situation with COVID-19 will evolve next year, while we have so many competitions.

During the same period, we had several online meetings of the Executive Committee (EC) of European Gymnastics. The main topic was the organisation of the European Championships in late 2020. The EC members came to the decision to cancel Olympic Qualification at our European Championships. This would ease the pressure on our member Federations on their decision making.

Further, we decided to move the Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastics European Championships planned to be held in Baku (AZE) in December, to Mersin (TUR). Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation was not able to organise these events anymore as the governmental restrictions to mass gatherings connected with the global pandemic are still in force in the country. Thus, the beautiful seaport of Mersin, situated on the Mediterranean coast, will host the contest of artistic gymnastics stars. I express my gratitude to the Turkish Gymnastics Federation for their willingness to support the European Championships and their determination to organise the competitions within such a short period of time, taking the responsibility of fulfilling additional safety requirements at the time of a pandemic.

The road has been paved to our events. The decision to maintain these competitions, was made taking into account the feedback we received from you.

We, as European Gymnastics, in close cooperation with the LOCs, do understand our responsibility. Therefore, the European Gymnastics Guidelines for the return to competitions with the Covid-19 pandemic have been developed in close cooperation of our Technical Committees, our doctor and our staff.

We have taken into account that all aspects of the competitions must be run in a safe environment.

We, together with the LOC, will ensure that all the conditions indicated in the Covid-19 Guidelines are fulfilled at maximum and the safest possible environment is provided for our athletes, coaches and other delegation members.

On the other hand, the Federations should realise the responsibility of participation in the events during the pandemic and make the choice best suitable for them as the circumstances with Covid-19 might differ from country to country. I think now you can make the decision easily since the Qualification for Tokyo 2020 is not an issue anymore. Given the number of Federations I communicated with, which are still interested in participating, I believe we will have a sufficient number of competitors at the events we are all looking forward to.

Another important topic on our Agenda was the postponement of the 29th Congress of European Gymnastics initially planned to be held in Albufeira (POR) on December 3 & 4, 2021. As you know, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) postponed its electoral 83rd Congress for a year (Antalya / TUR / October 29-31, 2021). We have only five weeks after the FIG Congress if we keep the original dates which is not reasonable. Our Statutes require that our TC members have a valid FIG Brevet 1 or 2. But the FIG Intercontinental Judges’ Course will take place in November 2021 and its results may not be known by the time when our Congress is held. Moreover, our affiliated Federations will not know who of their candidatures will be elected to the FIG Authorities as there is a requirement to submit the candidatures to our Authorities 5 month before the Congress. Therefore, we call the virtual Extraordinary General Assembly on November 18 to define the new dates and resolve the consequent issues by polling.

I congratulate the Gymnastics Federation of Portugal on the allocation of the 2022 Golden Age Gym Festival to Funchal (October 2-7). This Federation is one of the most active affiliated federations which hosts different events both at European and world level.

Moreover, we approved the “Positive Coaching Module” made by British Gymnastics. This will help our affiliated Federations to practise the best module in establishing sound relations between coaches and athletes. I am thankful to British Gymnastics for their contribution to this project.

On September 17, the FIG Executive Committee meeting was held in a videoconference format. Proposal to extend terms of office for all FIG Commissions and FIG Secretary General Nicolas Buompane was approved. From the first days Mr. Buompane took up this post (January 2019), he proved himself to be a valued organiser with high managerial skills and advanced ideas. I congratulate Mr. Buompane on this extension and wish him further success.

The FIG EC accepted the proposal that came from the Acrobatic Gymnastics Technical Committee of European Gymnastics and the Pan American Gymnastics Union (PAGU) concerning the age groups due to postponement of events caused by global pandemic. Thus, the FIG agreed to raise all age categories by 1 year for 2021 continental Championships in this discipline, which, in our case, is the European Championships. This decision was totally made for the benefit of athletes as they now will be able to compete at both the WAGC and European Championships without a need to change partners as there is just 2-3 months interval between them.

Another decision made was automatic renewal of licences created or renewed in 2020 - for another year. This is a fair decision as the athletes mainly have had no chance to participate in the international events this year. The FIG Medical Guidelines during the Covid-19 pandemic, the changes to the FIG Anti-doping Rules and allocation of the FIG World Cups and World Challenge Cups were also approved at the meeting. As we all realise, a busy year full of competitions awaits us, since, in addition, to the initially planned competitions, we will also have several postponed ones.

It was a fruitful month. The decisions are made.

Looking forward to seeing the gymnastics family at our Championships!

With my warmest regards,

Dr. Farid Gayibov

European Gymnastics President

 

October 8, 2020

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