Mass event comes to Cape Town in 2013 | SASCOC - SASCOC

Mass event comes to Cape Town in 2013

Professor Bruno Grandi, International Gymnastics Federation President, has visited Cape Town to officially congratulate the City of Cape Town in its successful bid to host the 2013 Gym for Life Challenge in Cape Town.

At a media briefing, held in the Civic Centre, Grandi expressed his delight at Cape Town’s interest in the popular sport and congratulated the City for being the first city outside of Europe to host a mass gymnastics event of this nature. He was accompanied by Ron Froehlich, Auditor Board member of the International Gymnastics Federation and President of the World Games Association, as well as Nicolas Buompane, Deputy Secretary General of the International Gymnastics Federation,

ÔÇ£I am very proud to officially announce that in May this year, the South African Gymnastics Federation and Cape Town won the bid to host the FIG Gym for Life Challenge in July 2013. This is the first time a ‘Gym for All’ FIG event will take place outside of Europe and I am extremely proud that it will be hosted in Africa. I wish the South African Gymnastics Federation and the city all the best in preparing for this wonderful event,ÔÇØ Professor Grandi said.

The FIG is one of the founding members of the Modern Olympic movement.┬á Besides the Olympic disciplines such as Artistic Gymnastics and Rhythmic gymnastics, the FIG also has a discipline called ÔÇ£Gymnastics For AllÔÇØ.┬áThe highlight on the Gymnastics for All Calendar is the World Gymnaestrada.

The World Gymnaestrada is the largest Gymnastics for All exhibition in the world. It was first held in 1953. On average it attracts approximately 20 000 participants.  The next World Gymnaestrada will be held in Lausanne, Switzerland from 10 to 16 July 2011.

Because of the growing popularity of the World Gymnaestrada event world-wide, the FIG decided to start the Gym for Life Challenge, to be held in between the World Gymnaestrada events in order to give people more opportunities to participate. The Gym for Life Challenge is a smaller version of the Gymnaestrada, but with a competitive element.  The inaugural Gym For Life Challenge was held in Austria in 2009 and attracted approximately 3000 participants. The city has expressed interest in hosting the World Gymnaestrada and decided to bid to host the Gym For Life World Challenge as a precursor to bidding for the World Gymnaestrada.

Since its inception, the World Gymnaestrada has never been held outside Europe.  The hosting of this event is much sought after with many countries usually competing for the honour.  The lobbying and marketing process usually starts years ahead of time.  Besides the undoubted economical benefits, the event caters for participants from all walks of life, unlike other major world events which cater for elite athletes at the exclusion of others.

The SAGF and the city made a presentation to FIG earlier this year in Japan in a bid to host the second Gym for Life Challenge in Cape Town in 2013. Thanks to the city and SAGF’s successful lobbying and bidding process, this opportunity was awarded to Cape Town.

At the press conference, Grandi mentioned the benefits of the hosting this event. He said hosting the event would be beneficial economically through tourism as there is a great interest to explore new countries. He also mentioned that the successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament has done a lot to attract more visitors to South African soil and further reinforcing a positive image of the country.

FIG auditor Ron Froehlich further reiterated the economic impact of hosting events like the Gym for Life Challenge & the World Gymnaestrada. He mentioned that Cape Town had minimised the risk of hosting an event of this nature considering that the city has a well developed infrastructure, especially after the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The City which has been engaged in a partnership with the SAGF over a number of years and will be hosting the Gym for Life Challenge in partnership with them.  The key elements of this partnership include:
(i) The provision of a dedicated facility in Phillipi for the development of talented gymnasts.

(ii) The development of gymnastics in communities in Cape Town

(i) Hosting the Council Meeting of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) in 2008.

(ii) Promotion of rope skipping in communities and hosting the World Rope Skipping Championships in 2008.

According to Gert Bam, Director: Sport, Recreation and Amenities, this event is a great opportunity to promote the sport of gymnastics in South Africa and amongst the youth in particular. ÔÇ£The hosting of this event in partnership with SAGF is in line with the vision of the City’s Sport, Recreation and Amenities Department to promote mass participation in recreational activities. The discipline of group gymnastics does not focus on the elite gymnasts, but is rather an activity which allows ordinary people to partake on a mass level without strenuous training and skills being required.ÔÇØ