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Parkour Inclusion Eyed for Paris 2024 but Opposition Remains

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Raul Piscoya, of Pleasanton, jumps from one rail to another while practicing parkour in Pleasanton, Calif., on Thursday, March 19, 2015. Piscoya, a parkour instructor, traverses over obstacles by running, climbing, swinging, jumping and rolling. Photo: Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group

A grand strategy has been unveiled by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) in an attempt to ensure parkour has a place on the Olympic program at Paris 2024.

FIG made the announcement following meetings with its new Parkour Commission and one with Parkour Earth, a rival group who claim to be the governing body and who are opposing what they consider to be a takeover of the sport.

Under their new plan, FIG hope to continue their World Cup series, which began at the International Festival of Extreme Sports World Series event in Chengdu in China last weekend, over the next two years.

This will include a new event World Series leg due to take place in Hiroshima in Japan next year, organised by FIG President Morinari Watanabe.

It is also hoped that parkour demonstration events will be held at next year’s Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aries and then at Tokyo 2020.

In 2020, they plan to organize a first FIG Parkour World Championships and the following year hope the discipline will appear on the World Games program in Birmingham in the United States.

Their ultimate objective is then to be added as a new discipline on the Olympic program at Paris 2024 – a decision likely to to be made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2021.

Watanabe promised they will help develop the discipline and ensure that parkour is run by specialists.

Educational courses are due to be rolled-out in all five continents.

The full membership of the Parkour Commission met for the first time today.

The seven strong Commission is chaired by parkour pioneer David Belle and consists of only one member – French Gymnastics Federation technical director Michel Boutard – not from the sport.

“It is important that we show the parkour community what we can do: for athletes, for development and for the community,” Watanabe, elected FIG President last year, told insidethegames.

“This is most important.

“We have invited and we welcome every organisation involved in parkour to cooperate.”

Watanabe denied that they the world governing body will now ignore their other non-Olympic disciplines of aerobics and acrobatics and claimed that they will attempt to gain a place for all on the Olympic program.

A parkour application to the IOC to be added for Tokyo 2020 was rejected earlier this year, but FIG concede that it came “too early”.

There was no breakthrough today, however, during the meeting with members of the parkour community who oppose FIG’s involvement in the sport.

FIG were accused of “encroachment and misappropriation” of the sport after they attempted to integrate parkour as a new discipline earlier this year.

A new body, Parkour Earth, was subsequently set-up, with Parkour UK’s chief executive Eugene Minogue having been nominated and appointed as transitional chief executive on an ex-officio basis of a body that, so far, only has six members.

Watanabe claimed today that they agreed with Parkour Earth that “no party will make any statements to the media following the meeting” about what had been discussed.

Parkour Earth were not aware of this agreement, however.

“Our fundamental and legitimate concerns remain unanswered,” Minogue told insidethegames.

“If they want dialogue we are happy to continue having it.

“But today’s meeting hasn’t changed our position.”

By Nick Butler

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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