By Emily Goddard

Ali Zaater 170413April 17 - Ali Zaater has been elected as the new President of the African Gymnastics Union (UAG) succeeding fellow Algerian Mohamed Yamani, who after 20 years in office has stepped down.

Zaater, who for 20 years has been secretary general of the UAG and chief of the cabinet at the Algerian Olympic Committee, secured a large majority win over his only contender Fayçal Ben Ali Zemni of Tunisia, after South Africa's Gymnastics Federation President Jerry Masia withdrew his candidacy at the last minute.

"I am very pleased and proud to succeed Yamani, a man who stands as a model for each of us to follow, and whose qualities it will be difficult to match," Zaater said at the close of the elections in Algiers.

"These past months have been extremely tense, but things have turned out well.

"I was surrounded by competent people as well as a very crucial spirit of solidarity.

"Every entity involved extended solidarity and support, the Algerian Gymnastics Federation, the Algerian Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Youth and Sport: it was a national endeavour."

Former UAG President Mohamed Yamani with his successor Ali ZaaterFormer UAG President Mohamed Yamani with his successor Ali Zaater

He will now manage 24 member national federations of the UAG, taking care of the Olympic qualification for African gymnasts, and providing regional support with the training of technicians.

Zaater says he will reinforce contact with the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), with whom he shares close ties, for their participation at numerous assemblies and world championship events.

Representing FIG President Bruno Grandi, the international governing body for gymnastics' honorary vice-president and former secretary general Norbert Bueche thanked the outgoing President for his consistent work, and extended his support and wishes to Zaater in his new role.

Zaater will officiate for the first time in his term at the 13th FIG Council in Liverpool on May 9-10 this year.

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