Morinari Watanabe, left, is facing a challenge from Farid Gayibov for the International Gymnastics Federation Presidency ©Getty Images

International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) President Morinari Watanabe is to face a challenge from Farid Gayibov for leadership of the organisation at its Congress in Antalya.

Gayibov, an Azeri who has led European Gymnastics since 2018, is Watanabe's sole challenger for the Presidency.

The Japanese official is up for re-election for the first time, having had his term extended by 12 months when last year's Congress was postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Watanabe, made a member of the International Olympic Committee in 2018, will be favoured to secure re-election, and had been expected to run unopposed.

Watanabe was elected FIG President in October 2016 after a resounding victory over Frenchman Georges Guelzec, receiving 100 of the 119 votes on offer.

He followed Italian Bruno Grandi, who had led the FIG for 20 years.

Elections for three vice-president positions, the Executive Committee and Council will also take place at the Congress.

Two existing vice-presidents have put themselves forward for re-election - five-time Olympic champion Nellie Kim of Belarus, formerly the Soviet Union as an athlete, and Russia's Vassily Titov.

China's Luo Chaoyi will not seek re-election.

Greek Eleni Michopoulou, Qatar's Ali Al-Hitmi, Margaret Ahlquist of Sweden, Syria's Youssef Altabbaa and Suat Celen from Turkey are all standing to become a vice-president.

Turkey is due to host the International Gymnastics Federation Congress ©Getty Images
Turkey is due to host the International Gymnastics Federation Congress ©Getty Images

Should they be unsuccessful, all seven vice-presidential candidates are listed among the 24 officials seeking election to the Executive Committee, which comprises seven ordinary members plus the President and vice-presidents.

There are forty-one candidates for the 21 positions on the FIG Council, although the true number may be smaller should some be elected to the Executive Committee.

The list of candidates can be seen in full here.

Each continental region must be represented on the Council.

There also needs to be at least 30 per cent representation per gender for the vice-presidents, Executive Committee members and Council members, as well as the members of the Gymnastics for All Committee and various technical committees, following statute reforms brought in in 2018.

Successful candidates will take office at the start of 2022, and it is proposed they will serve three-year terms to make up for current mandates being extended by 12 months in response to the global health crisis.

The Congress must approve this proposal before the vote, however.