World Gymnaestrada numbers highlight wish ‘to be there’

With the registration deadline closed, over 18,800 participants have signed up to take part in the World Gymnaestrada 2023 in Amsterdam (NED). 

Preparations for the 17th World Gymnaestrada in Amsterdam (NED), the FIG’s leading Gymnastics for All event, are gathering pace with more than 18,800 participants now officially registered. This year’s World Gymnaestrada will take place between 30 July and 5 August and the enthusiasm to take part in the sport’s largest gathering since the pandemic is highlighted by the fact that more gymnasts have registered to take part than at the same stage of the preparation process four years ago in Dornbirn (AUT).  

The deadline for registrations passed last week and, after the challenges faced and overcome since the last Gymnaestrada, this global gathering of the Gymnastics community promises to be a true celebration of the sport and the friendships it forges. Rogerio Valerio, president of the FIG Gymnastics for All Committee, said: “Even with the pandemic and the lockdown, compared with four years ago in Dornbirn at the time of the  definite registration, we have more participants at the same stage.

We are getting more participants, more people involved in activities as Gymnastics is about quality of life and it provides access to better health and  to a better life. This is the biggest event the FIG has – a gathering from all around the world and this is the moment to be there.

Amsterdam back in spotlight
It is exactly 70 years now since another Dutch city, Rotterdam, staged the very first Gymnaestrada in 1953. For Amsterdam this will be the second edition as host city, after 1991, and it means the Netherlands will join Germany, Austria and Switzerland in having staged the event three times overall. The Netherlands is one of eight countries, moreover, to have taken part in all 16 previous World Gymnaestrada events, the others being Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Germany and Sweden. 

A truly World Gymnaestrada
Today the World Gymnaestrada, as befitting the FIG’s biggest event, is a truly global occasion with groups involved from Europe, the Americas, Asia, Oceania and Africa. And just to underline the worldwide appeal of Gymnastic for All, there will be two new African nations involved for the first time in Amsterdam in Sierra Leone, which is sending 48 gymnasts, and Uganda, which will have 21 taking part.     

Overall, at the time of writing, there are currently 18,833 gymnasts registered to participate. This is more than three times the number present at the first edition of the World Gymnaestrada in Rotterdam in 1953, when around 5,000 took part. In 1999 in Gothenburg (SWE) the number of gymnasts exceeded 20,000 for the first time before Dornbirn set a record with 21,158 participants in 2007.  

Dates and venues
The 2023 World Gymnaestrada will begin on Sunday 30 July with the Opening Ceremony at Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium. It will conclude with the Closing Ceremony at the same venue on Saturday 5 August. The local organising committee has promised a compact event with an accent on music and dance, as well as a focus on sustainability – including bicycles as one mode of transport. Aside from the Olympic Stadium, the five days of Group Performances and National Performances will take place at the RAI Amsterdam exhibition centre which will also stage the FIG Gala events on the last two days.  

Other events will be the Large Group Performances at the Olympic Stadium; the City Performances at three venues – the RAI, Vondelpark and Olympic Stadium; and the National Performances showcasing gymnasts on three different nights (Monday 31 July, Tuesday 1 August and Thursday 3 August). Another highlight will be the World Team event, which will feature a choreography to the Lady Gaga song Born This Way.

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Connie Esau from South Africa: “For each time there is a memory she has taken into her heart. “The event has become an important part of my life.”

Connie Esau from South Africa: “For each time there is a memory she has taken into her heart. “The event has become an important part of my life.”