Gymnastics World Championships may be Moved

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After the world championships for figure skating was postponed and eventually transferred away from Tokyo after the series of natural calamities in the form of an earthquake and a tsunami, the world championships for gymnastics, scheduled in October, may be the next event to be affected.

A decision is expected to be made by the international federation by next month, likely at the San Jose meeting of the executive committee.

Hidenori Futagi, president of the domestic federation, felt that it might have been continued at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium if there had not been the radiation problem. After all, it was hoped that holding the event in Tokyo would overshadow the sorrow and grief of the Japanese people and stir up emotions of courage and energy.

Unfortunately, with the Fukushima plant that was damaged in the earthquake being only about 140 miles north of Tokyo, the FIG is hesitant about holding the championships.

On its website, the federation admitted that the consequences of the destruction were still unclear, and the world at large was anxious and concerned.

Apparently, the gymnastics event is considered more crucial than the figure skating championships as the former would supposedly screen the countries to qualify for the Olympics to be held in London next year.

Should the FIG decide to change venues, the next choice would most likely be Boston, at the TD Garden. Then known as the FleetCenter, it was where the 1996 and 2000 trials for the Olympics were held and would likely be wiling to host the international event. At least, that would be if the event could be rescheduled, as the October 7 to 16 dates are currently taken by a circus in that venue.

On a side note, the alternative to the figure skating championships was Moscow, which was made even more attractive when prime minister Vladimir Putin promised, in behalf of the Russian government, to cover all expenses. In addition, the Megasport Arena, opened a mere five years ago and seating 14,500, is considered the largest and the most modern among the possible venues.

Other bidders for the venue changes of the affected sporting events included Graz in Austria, Zagreb in Croatia, Turku in Finland, Vancouver, Lake Placid, and Colorado Springs.

Also, the skating event was moved from October to April 24 to May 1, considered by the International Skating Union as the better choice, as the skaters usually spent the summer preparing for the programs for next season.

Time will tell whether the gymnastics championships would also need to be adjusted not only in terms of venue but also in terms of its schedule, perhaps to make adjustments to the availability of TD Garden.

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