Morinari WatanabeInternational Gymnastics Federation President
Elected for a four-year term at the Tokyo Congress in October 2016, Morinari Watanabe became the ninth President of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) and is the first non-European to hold the post. Before taking office, he had been the Secretary General of the Japanese Gymnastics Association since 2009. He joined the organisation in 1996, first as managing director and was credited for the success of Japanese athletes on the World and Olympic scene after a period of medal-less performances at the 1996 and 2000 Games.
As FIG President, he will lead this major Olympic sport of gymnastics to the Tokyo 2020 Games in his own country and bring a new vision for the Federation based on his conviction that the new societal revolution in the 21st century comes from sports – starting with gymnastics.
The sexual abuse incidents in the USA occurred before he took over the presidency of FIG.
Immediately after he took over the FIG presidency, he launched the project in order to prevent the repetition of such incidents.
He explains that: “As the sexual abuse incidents in the USA happened in the gymnastics community, FIG should be responsible for creating a sports community free from abuse and harassment. The gymnastics community is aiming to become a role model for the sports community without abuse and harassment.”
“The priority for FIG is to safeguard athletes. A sports community without athletes is not a sports community. What is essential for an International Federation is not privileges or marketing either. FIG never forgets to place the interests of athletes first,” he adds.