A new attractive World Cup format will revolutionize artistic gymnastics. By 2011 a new series will attract all-arounders and event specialists in separate competitions with altogether a prize money of 1 million Swiss francs (700 000 Euros).
For the future four World Cups in each of the two series (all-around & event finals) the organizers have to put 100 000 Swiss franc on the table. At the moment the struggle goes on behind the scenes to get together 200 000 Swiss francs for the overall winners of both series. The FIG or sponsors are to raise the extra money. On May 25 all of the potential candidates are invited to Lausanne in order to agree on the modalities of the futures event series.
“We are delighted to overcome primary resistance in FIG-circles”, says Wolfgang Willam at the European Championships in Birmingham, who as the president of the FIG Competition Committee significantly initiated the series. “It couldn’t go on as before: The World Cup lacked the profile, the fields were huge”, confirmed the DTB (DeutscherTurnerBund / German Gymnastics Federation) Sports Director. In addition, the World Cup marketing has been insignificant, the media coverage has been moderate. All that is about to change.
Willam assumes that appealing big cities like New York, Tokyo, Moscow, Paris and Stuttgart, will attract the best of the best. Condition for the success of the series is a consistent branding, a fresh outfit and a professional TV marketing under one roof. “I’m sure the system will be adopted and I am glad that Japan is with its great all-arounders like World Champion Kohei Uchimura already in the boat“, says Willam. Winners in the all around will receive 15 000 francs, 3 000 francs are payed to the winners of an event final. World Cup winners must participate in at least three of the four tournaments.
In his concept Willam has incorporated the experiences of the DTB in 27 years World Cup in Stuttgart and the Champions Trophy. “The trophy had a good response, but the women attract even more attention internationally,” he said. He doesn’t have reservations eight Cup tournaments next to the World Championships and continental championships (e.g. Europeans, Pacific Rim) would be too much. “We can only create what suits the athletes. The tournaments help the best gymnasts to prepare for the highlights – assuming that we can offer a good level. “Moreover, the stars themselves could decide in which of the two series they want to start – if are they qualified.
Only eight all-arounder and twelve event specialists are qualified. At the World Championships in October in Rotterdam the winner already receive their invitation for the new series. From 2012 the three medal-winning gymnasts at the Olympic Games and the World Championships are seeded for the World Cup, the rest will qualify on a world ranking, the organizer will receive a wildcard.
For the second rank of the world’s elite, the FIG will also call into being a Challenge Round, where the number of participants and events is open. “It was hard convincing, because many did not want this series at all”, conceded Willam. The prize money for each meeting will be 25 000 Swiss francs (17 500 Euros). One candidate is the traditional “Tournament of Masters” in Cottbus (GER), because each country may only host one A-series World Cup (DTB-Cup in Stuttgart). The first two gymnasts in the Challenge Series will join the “luxury class”.
external source (German) – translation by me & Google :-)
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