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Move to establish Oceania Gymnastics Union

Move to establish Oceania Gymnastics Union
October 23, 2016
Sport /

Gymnastics Australia and Gym Sports New Zealand are backing a development program to create a fifth continental union within the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).

The new union would mirror that of the other unions - in Asia, Europe, Africa and Pan America - and would have their own elections and congresses once formally approved by the FIG.

The FIG is backing the move to establish an Oceania Gymnastics Union (OGU) with funding while those behind the scheme targeting full recognition from the worldwide governing body before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The initiative project gathered pace last week at FIG’s 81st Congress in Japan with the addition of American Samoa, the Cook Islands and Fiji as full members of the organisation.

It means Gymnastics Australia and their counterparts in New Zealand now have the five members required to form a ‘development group’, considered the first step towards becoming a fully-fledged Continental Union.

They are also hopeful of forming federations in Guam, Tonga and Papua New Guinea - considered one of the better developed Pacific Nations who are thought to be preparing a bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games having hosted last year’s Pacific Games - before the end of the year.

The decision to grant the three Pacific nations membership of the FIG comes after a meeting was held between the relevant stakeholders in Suva in Fiji last month.

There, it was agreed to press ahead with the continental plans, though it remains unclear where the newly-formed organisation would be based or who would be in charge of it.

Further meetings are expected over the course of the next few months while attempts will be made at growing the sport in other countries in the region in order to prepare for a bid to become recognised by the FIG.

Australia and New Zealand are not currently affiliated with a union.

Gymnastics Australia President Jacqui Briggs-Weatherill told insidethegames “we’re really excited about the development program.

"It’s great to take the sport to these countries, some of which don’t have many women playing sport.

"Our aim is to be endorsed by the FIG by Tokyo 2020."

Gymnastics Australia Chief Executive Mark Rendell praised the "vision" of the scheme and also thanked the FIG for their "faith" in the project.

Rendell stated that should they be successful with their aim, they would "complete the fifth Olympic Ring”.

Under the plans, the development funds will be used to help send coaches from Australia and New Zealand to less-developed parts of Oceania in a bid to develop the sport of gymnastics.

Images: Competitors from South East Asia took part in the recent Glen Iris Cup International Rhythmic Gymnastics (top) and Jacqui Briggs-Weatherill (below).

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