Rhythmic Gymnastics is a competitive sport under the authority of F.I.G. (International Gymnastics Federation). Currently, only the women's portion of rhythmic gymnastics is recognized by FIG - men's rhythmic gymnastics is yet to get FIG approval. The possibilities and opportunities men's rhythmic gymnastics presents are endless. It is up to each and everyone of us to work hard to make the dream a reality.
Gymnasts from eight countries. Japan, Malaysia, Korea, Australia, Mexico, USA, Canada and Russia. This represented gymnasts from 4 continents: Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. As some of you might notice, the gymnasts includes both children and adults (less than 10 to over 30+).
Michaela Pendleton (AUS), Mario Lam (CAN), Foong Kok Seng (MAL) and Ramon Moore (USA) all passed the judging license course during the event. This is a huge step towards the understanding of the sport in other countries.
In Japan, stick gymnastics were taught and performed with the aim of improving physical strength and health of the country. The technical rules of this version of the gymnastics came around 1970s. Performed with music, as free-exercise and exercise with apparatus, these gymnastics were performed competitively at the National Athletic Meet by both men and women. These activities were named Rhythmic Gymnastics due to its resemblance to the FIG rhythmic gymnastics framework and characteristics. This gymnastics have evolved to become what is known as the Japanese men's rhythmic gymnastics.
Men's rhythmic gymnastics, in its current form, consist of both Group and Individual competition. Group Competition consisted of 6 gymnasts performing Free-exercise. Individuals compete with apparatuses of Sticks, Rings, Rope and Clubs. As of year 2002, in Japan, there are 1000 Rhythmic gymnasts ranging from school children to adults. There are competitions such as the Inter High School Competition, National Athletics Meet, All Japan Inter-Collegiate Competition, All Japan Junior Championship, All Japan Amateur Championship, and All Japan Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship.
Over the last 20 years, the Japanese version of men's rhythmic gymnastics has been performed and introduced at some of major international competitions. The audiences were always involved and impressed. However, there were no follow up. The language barrier and the lack of a master development plan have caused the sport to exist only in Japan for the longest time. Much progress have been made in the last five years due to the perseverence of Japan Gymnastics Association as well as various individuals.
Japan is now actively working with FIG to define new rules for groups with apparatus. Example of such routines was first displayed at the World Cup in Baku. In Japan, there were exhibitions of 5 ropes and 3 rings & 2 clubs.
The core countries aim to have the first international invitational outside Japan sometime in 2006.
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