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11 May 2017

FIG creates new parkour-based competitive obstacle course discipline

The FIG, the international gymnastics federation, has taken a further step towards integrating the sport of parkour into its disciplines by approving the creation of a new FIG discipline based on obstacle course competitions.

The FIG said that, following the decision at a meeting in Baku last week, it expects to include two formats of competitive obstacle course events in the new discipline: ‘Obstacle Course Sprint, an against-the-clock format; and ‘Obstacle Course Freestyle’, based on performances that will be judged.

The aim is to organise World Cup series in 2018 and 2019 and World Championships from 2020, with the first event run under the FIG’s auspices to take place on 28 May at FISE, the action sports festival in Montpellier, France.

The FIG said that it has partnered with the France-based Mouvement International du Parkour, Freerunning et l'Art du déplacement, via its President Charles Perrière, as well as with the APEX School of Movement in USA and the Netherlands’ JUMP Freerun, for the organisation of these planned competitions.

It stressed that its plans differ from those of the parkour organisations in that parkour is non-competitive.

Morinari Watanabe, the FIG’s president, said: “As a well-established international Olympic sport federation, the FIG has agreed to give its support to the development of a discipline that has generated real interest to the whole world. The FIG is doing so with the desire to respect the philosophy that drove the founders of parkour, and to empower them.”

Perrière said: “The collaboration between the Mouvement and the FIG aims to ensure there is a positive link between obstacle course competitions and the original practice of parkour, by definition a non-competitive physical activity. The appeal of one is able to lead to increased interest in the other, and vice versa.”

The new discipline, which has not been officially named, is the FIG’s eighth, alongside gymnastics for all, men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic, trampoline, acrobatic and aerobic.

The FIG has been keen to avoid conflict with the Mouvement International du Parkour, Freerunning et l’Art Du Déplacement, or more simply ‘The Mouvement’, which presented the sport at last year’s winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer and has been responsible for its growth and development.