Turkey to host gymnastics summit after Norway refused to allow Russians
The dates of the International Gymnastics Federation's (FIG) 2022 Congress have been confirmed after Turkey stepped in to host the event. The event was moved from original host Norway after it refused to allow Russian and Belarusian delegations.
The Congress will take place on November 11 and 12 in Turkey's largest city, with the development coming following approval from the FIG's Executive Committee.
Turkey will now host the Congress for the second year running, with Antalya receiving last year's gathering which saw Morinari Watanabe elected for a second successive term as the FIG's president.
Istanbul saved the day after the FIG announced earlier this week that its previous choice of Sandefjord in Norway could no longer host the congress.
This came as a result of political pressure, with the Norwegian Gymnastics Federation pulling out after recommendations from Norway's Ministry of Culture and Equality plus the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports (NIF) to block the attendance of Russian and Belarusian officials.
In a statement on Friday, the FIG apologized for the change and said it was "aware of the challenges caused by this unforeseen situation for all the national Gymnastics federations that were already duly registered for this Congress."
"The FIG is very sorry for the inconvenience, and can only thank the delegations again for their understanding and valuable collaboration," it added.
Russia and its ally Belarus have been frozen out of many international sports since the military operation in Ukraine was launched in late February, with numerous federations banning their athletes, teams and clubs following an International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommendation to do so.
These bans have sometimes extended to officials too, but delegations from the two countries have been allowed to take part in congresses such as those held by FIFA in football as well as the FIG.
Nellie Kim of Belarus is one of three FIG vice-presidents, while Russia’s Vassily Titov is a board member. Both countries have officials on various FIG committees.
As opposed to Norway and its Scandinavian neighbors, Turkey has been friendlier towards Russia while also playing an active role in mediation efforts between the country and Ukraine.