Georges  Guelzec

Before I can, like all of you, rejoice in the upcoming celebration of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, my thoughts are elsewhere.

After Paris last November, it’s in Brussels that the ignorance of men cowardly struck again.

I expressed to the Presidents of the Royal Belgian Gymnastics Federation the solidarity and compassion of the entire European gymnastics community with the victims and their loved ones.

The UEG and its millions of gymnasts hold a modest part of the solution by opening the doors of its gyms to provide a benchmark for generations at risk of exclusion and violence.

Remember that Belgium, like France, was one of the first National Associations to federate their gymnastics activities around the same social and educational project.

This was in 1881, at the height of the industrial revolution and its devastating collateral consequences for the working masses.

On April 28, exactly 100 days will separate us from the Opening Ceremony of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, Rio 2016.

A meeting dreamt of by many gymnasts, especially by those who haven’t pocketed their qualification yet.

For those gymnasts, this April is the month of all their hopes. And of all their fears.

The last tickets for Rio will be distributed during the qualification sessions, which will take place in the Rio Olympic Arena from 16 to 22 April.

We will be there to encourage them.

That said, keep in mind that this mode of qualification is on its way out.

Gymnasts are set to battle for crucial Rio 2016 places
Gymnasts are set to battle for crucial Rio 2016 places ©Getty Images

The FIG, its Executive Committee and its Council have, for several years, been working on a project to redesign the international calendar and the Olympic selection stages.

The next Council in Bangkok, Thailand, in May should finalise a dossier that the members themselves opened in 2013 in Liverpool and that should come into effect on January 1, 2017, for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Closer to us, on June 4, we will hold in Bern, in the margin of the European Championships, an important meeting dedicated to the European candidates for the FIG elections in October.

I emphasise the strategic contents of that day, insofar the question will be our representation at the governing authorities at FIG for the next cycle.

The UEG and its 50 affiliated Federations want to take their responsibility, defend their project and their vision of a modern and dynamic gymnastics, designed for the gymnasts of 2020 and 2024 and their audience.

I expect many of you in Bern and am looking forward to our exchanges.

Before I conclude, I’d like to address my thanks and my congratulations to the Royal Spanish Gymnastics Federation and the organisers who just turned the page on the 25th European Championships in trampoline, double mini-trampoline and tumbling in Valladolid.

The competition was a unanimous success for all delegations present and that pleases me.

A great success for these Europeans in Spain! Olé!