27 May, 2017

Great plans in store for AGU, members: AGU President Al-Shathri

AGU Office, BANGKOK (THA) May 27, 2017: Brimming with ideas, Asian Gymnastics Union President Abdulrahman Al-Shathri of Qatar said last week that good things are coming for the organization and its members.
“I think we (the AGU) will have a good future. Soon we will announce a lot of things for the AGU and the federations. They will be happy,” said the youthful and dynamic AGU President on the sidelines of the 7th Asian Seniors and 14th Juniors Artistic Gymnastics Championships here
“I have a lot of dreams, a lot of ideas (on my mind),” Al-Shathri said. “There are a lot of targets in my mind. It’s no secret, but I cannot say it until we have it.”
He was elated that both the Asian Seniors and Asian Juniors drew a record field of nearly 300 gymnasts from 24 countries, including Turkmenistan which made its debut in both competitions.
“It (the record participation) means a lot to us. It means every one of our members would like to attend these championships,” Al-Shathri pointed out.
He thanked the Gymnastics Association of the Thailand for hosting both tournaments successfully at the spacious Nimibtur Gymnasium inside the Thai National Stadium Sports complex here.    
“I would like to thank the Gymnastics Association of Thailand in hosting both championships. It is very difficult to host one AGU tournament, let alone two so I am really happy for them.”
The AGU President said the innovations that they introduced in both the Asian Seniors and Asian Juniors here were meant to raise the profile and promote overall gymnastics in Asia.
“We will try to give these events more value,” stressed Al-Shathri, noting that it was the first time that AGU awarded cash prizes to the Asian Seniors winners.
“Similar to what the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) is doing, we are now awarding cash prizes. We will try to increase the money in the future as much as we can,” he said. “We are doing this step by step.”
Both competitions were also recorded on video and their highlights can now be seen on the AGU website.
To underscore the importance of AGU events , the AGU President disclosed that the 15th edition of the Asian Juniors Artistic Gymnastics Championships in 2018 would serve as the qualifying tournament for the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
On the other hand, he said, the next Asian Seniors Gymnastics Championships might be included in the list of qualifying competitions for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. 
“In 2019, we will have a new Olympic cycle and we are thinking that the Asian Seniors Championships will be a qualifying competition for the 2020 Olympic,” Al-Shathri said. “Nothing is definite yet. We are still awaiting approval from the FIG.
 “If we cannot make it in 2019 then we might have (the Asian Olympic qualifiers) from January to May of 2020.”
In support of all the AGU’s endeavors, the AGU President revealed that he is now in close negotiations with a major sponsor of all its projects and activities.
“With this sponsor, we will be able to raise the level of Asian gymnastics in general. I mean all of our present seven events: MAG, WAG, rhythmic – aerobics, trampoline, acrobatics and gymnastics for all – will be aggressively promoted,” he said.
“I am here to always try my best in protecting the interests of the AGU, promote and develop our disciplines and support our federations. This is what I am here for. I am always here for them,” the AGU President concluded.
By: Manolo Pedralvez