Gym­nas­tics - Ja­pan's Watan­abe elected pres­i­dent of gym­nas­tics fed­er­a­tion

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Mori­nari Watan­abe of Ja­pan was elected pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional Gym­nas­tics Fed­er­a­tion yes­ter­day, promis­ing to usher in changes that will make gym­nas­tics "the king of sports." The 57-year-old Watan­abe, the sec­re­tary gen­eral of the Ja­pan Gym­nas­tics As­so­ci­a­tion, re­ceived 100 of 119 votes in an elec­tion against France's Ge­orges Guelzec, head of the Euro­pean Union of Gym­nas­tics. Watan­abe will re­place 82-year-old Ital­ian Bruno Grandi, who is step­ping down as pres­i­dent in De­cem­ber af­ter 20 years in charge. Watan­abe be­comes the first Asian to head FIG and is the first Ja­panese pres­i­dent of an Olympic in­ter­na­tional fed­er­a­tion since Ichiro Ogimura headed the In­ter­na­tional Ta­ble Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion from 1987-1994. Watan­abe is a sports busi­ness man­age­ment pro­fes­sional. He joined the Ja­panese gym­nas­tics as­so­ci­a­tion in 2001 with the goal of re­viv­ing the sport fol­low­ing a medal drought for Ja­pan at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. Ja­pan has won medals in gym­nas­tics at ev­ery games since.

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