Doha Worlds is best opportunity to take the sport forward, says Watanabe
JAKARTA, Indonesia: FIG President Morinari Watanabe said that the Arab region would be benefitted when Qatar will host this year's FIG Artistic World Championships from October 25-November 3.
"It's the best opportunity for the region to take the sport forward," Watanabe told worldgym.com here on Monday.
The FIG head was attending the gymnastics competition at the Asian Games along with other senior officials.
"It should be a proud moment for Qatar as they've been a pioneer in promoting any sport in the Middle East by hosting several top international events in the last couple of years. We are really grateful to the Qatar government, Qatar Olympic Committee and Qatar Gymnastics Federation for their support," said Watanabe.
The MAG qualifications at the continental games got underway here at the Jakarta International Expo auditorium, with the current All-Around world champion Xiao Ruoteng is the main attraction besides several other top names.
"The Doha Worlds should be an advert for the sport's development in the Arab region. They've the potential, but all need is a strategy and a long-term plan. Only actions won't help the sport grow," added the Japanese, was an FIG Executive Committee member and beat France’s Georges Guelzec 100-19 to become the first Asian to head the world body.
Watanabe, a sports business management professional, joined the Japanese Gymnastics Association in 2001 with a mission to revive Japan’s glory days following their medal-less performance at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. He accomplished his mission from the start as Japanese gymnasts won medals at every Games since then.
He also stressed the need to bring in changes to the sport.
“The time has come for innovation. Gymnastics is a very popular Olympic sport, but we want to make it the king of sports," added the 59-year-old.