JAPAN SHOWS GRATITUDE! from Gymnastic Solidarity
Doha (QAT) / AGU Office, May 21, 2012: Present in St Petersburg (RUS) for the 12th FIG Council 2012, representatives of the Japan Gymnastics Association and the Tokyo metropolitan government addressed the 40 elected members present, offering a final report on the Artistic World Championships held in the Nippon capital in October 2011.
Speaking on behalf of the host federation, its Secretary General and President of organisation, Mr Morinari Watanabe, recalled the unique context in which the event took place, just seven months after March 11 and the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that resulted in more than 20,000 deaths in the Tohoku region, north-east of Tokyo.
Still visibly emotional, Mr Watanabe cast back to the unspeakable trauma brought about by the catastrophe and to the way it impacted the country as a whole. “Japan had fallen to its knees, struck to its very core, in the grip of despair.” The President added, “It is you, vast Family of Gymnastics, who brought the first ray of hope when you came to Japan with all the strength and enthusiasm of gymnasts from 82 countries united. It is you, President Grandi, and you, Council Members, who bolstered us with the hope and strength to rebuild when you came to Tokyo. Our gratitude will never wane.”
The Sports Director for the Tokyo Government, Mr Kazunoriltagaki, then took the floor, expressing on behalf of the entire population of the metropolis a message of appreciation and gratitude.
To conclude, Mr Watanabe reported that the 2011 World Championships were a monumental athletic and popular success, the impact of which continues to reverberate today with the adhesion of new economic partners to Japanese gymnastics, among which the prestigious names of Toyota, Nissan, Sony and Panasonic.