Category Archives: Parkour

FIRST FIG PARKOUR WORLD CUP PROVES BIG IN JAPAN

The first FIG World Cup event for Parkour concluded in Hiroshima on Sunday with the women’s Speed-run and men’s Freestyle final – and with the satisfaction of having proved a huge popular success. Launched as part of a new Japanese leg on the FISE’s Festival of Action Sports circuit, the Parkour competition generated massive public interest.

David Belle, who created Parkour as a method of physical training in the 1990s and today presides over the FIG Parkour Commission, said: “I didn’t think the public would be so receptive. There was an immediate connection and it created a wonderfully positive energy for everybody, which is extremely positive for the future.”

Training before competition in Hiroshima. Photo credit: Jean-Pierre Limery

It was the FIG President, Morinari Watanabe, who had initiated the idea of organising a Japanese stage on the FISE world tour and he too was taken aback by the large crowds which showed so much enthusiasm for this young discipline. “This World Cup has provided a first milestone which we must build on for future progress. There were thousands enjoying this spectacle and we can take elements from this positive experience and use them also in the world of Gymnastics.”

Women’s Speed-run
With its series of walls and blocks, the course was certainly intimidating for the eight women in contention, all of them well aware that their four limbs would be tested to the full. Saskia Neville from the Netherlands had devised a strategy for surmounting the obstacles without sapping her strength too quickly and she followed it to the letter, her tactics paying off as she finished top of the ranking.

Results
Saskia Neville (NED)
Hikari Izumi (JPN)
Anna Griukach (UKR)
Aleksandra Shevchenko (RUS)
Thelma Ilbacken (SWE)
Anna Yamashita (AUS)
Stephania Zitis (AUS)
Karla Gonzalez (MEX)

Pavels Petkuns (LAT) during the Freestyle final. Photo credit: JP Limery

Men’s Freestyle

Just like the previous day’s Speed-run final, the Freestyle final captured the imagination of the watching crowd. The eight finalists had the freedom to use the different elements of the course in whatever way they wished, and they took full advantage, the most audacious among them even daring to launch into somersaults from a platform several metres above the crowd. For the judges, however, it was fluidity of movement and creativity, rather than bravery, that they rewarded most highly and Latvia’s Pavels Petkuns, a well-known figure on the Parkour scene, emerged as the unanimous winner thanks to his impressive mastery of the space around him.

Results
Pavels Petkuns (LAT)
Waldemar Muller (GER)
Kamil Tobiasz (POL)
Johan Tonnoir (FRA)
Pedro Leon Gomez (ESP)
Kenichi Sato (JPN)
Hajime Yuuki (JPN)
Zen Shimada (JPN)

After Hiroshima, Montpellier in France will host the second Parkour World Cup, again under the umbrella of the FISE event which will be held on 8-13 May.

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THREE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE FIRST FIG PARKOUR WORLD CUP

A short walk from the Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima’s former municipal baseball stadium will provide the setting for the very first FIG Parkour World Cup, taking place from 6-8 April as part of the FISE’s World Action Sports Festival which also includes BMX, skateboarding, roller freestyle, bouldering and breaking. Here are three things to know about this exciting debut event.

Athletes from every continent
On Friday, if the weather remains kind, there will be 35 participants – 27 male and eight female – taking part in qualifications in Speed-run and Freestyle. These competitors come from far and wide – Australia, Belgium, Benin, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine – which illustrates that Parkour, a discipline created by Frenchman David Belle as a form of physical training, has already roused considerable interest on every continent.

Taken by the waves
Like the movement of waves, with their crests and hollows, the course conceived by Charles Perrière is pitted with obstacles which unfold rapidly over a distance of 40m, offering no let-up for the competitors. In Speed-run, they must overcome this series of obstacles in first one direction and then the other, at the maximum speed possible. The eight fastest will meet in a final round comprising a series of direct duels. In Freestyle, where their technical performance is judged, they can make use of the obstacles – walls and bars – to exhibit their style and display their creativity.

Training before competition in Hiroshima. Photo credit: Jean-Pierre Limery

A showcase for discovering Parkour
Aside from the competition itself, the public will be able to discover the art of overcoming obstacles with the guidance of some true experts in the discipline. In these exhibitions, people of all ages will be able to learn the basic principles of Parkour and the steps needed to follow in order to achieve the control of movement and mastery of the body that is required before taking on these obstacles. These introductory workshops are an important educational tool for the development of this young discipline, promoting an approach which respects the principles of basic safety.

7 days to go till first FIG Parkour World Cup

The start of the first FIG Parkour World Cup series is just a week away, with the inaugural competition scheduled to take place from 6 to 8 April in Hiroshima, Japan.

Some thirty athletes representing 20 nations are expected at this first official FIG Parkour competition, which is taking place as part of the Japanese leg of the FISE, the major urban sports festival.

It was at the instigation of the FIG President, Morinari Watanabe, that the FISE added this extra stage to the world circuit this year.

“In this way Hiroshima will become the city where we launched this great adventure with Parkour – an adventure that we hope will one day lead all the way to the Olympic Games,” said President Watanabe.

The Parkour adventure actually began in France in the 90s. Current President of the FIG’s Parkour Commission, David Belle, originally developed the Parkour concept in the 90s, according to precepts laid down by his father, a Parisian firefighter.

“When I was a teenager, I’d practise jumping and climbing over all these objects around me in my urban environment, but the idea of competition was totally foreign to me,” said Belle. “For me, Parkour is about mastery and self-control in overcoming obstacles as effectively as possible, and this spirit should not be lost in competition.”

“While the competitive element has its fans, what is important to us through this World Cup event is to promote athletes who respect the principles of our discipline and also to ensure an attractive showcase for the promotion of Parkour around the word,” added Charles Perrière, vice-president of the Parkour Commission.

The concept of promoting efficiency and self-control will feature strongly in the two event categories that appear in the World Cup programme, Parkour Speed-Run and Parkour Freestyle.

In Speed-Run, athletes must negotiate a series of different obstacles on a particular course – and do it as efficiently as possible against the clock.

In Freestyle, the athletes’ performances are judged by a panel which assesses the manner in which they negotiate the obstacles according to several criteria such as style, efficiency and control.

Only the top eight in the qualifying standings for each category will progress to the final, which will comprise four rounds of one run each in a knock-out format with “repêchage”.

The launch of the Parkour World Cup is part of a global development project for the sport. In addition to the competition, there will be performances and initiation workshops to allow the wider public to discover this discipline, which is first and foremost a training method, teaching people to better handle and overcome the obstacles around us.

This Hiroshima World Cup is the first in a series of three in 2018. The second stage will be held in Montpellier, France in May with the third and final stage in Chengdu, China in November, where the winners of the 2018 series will be crowned.

The programme

Friday 6 April:
Qualifications
Saturday 7 April:
Women’s Freestyle finals
Men’s Speed-Run finals

Sunday 8 April:
Women’s Speed-Run finals
Men’s Freestyle finals

2018, A Year Of Achievements For Parkour

Launching competitions, implementing a vast educational component and undertaking field work on a worldwide scale: 2018 is certainly a year of action for Parkour, some 11 months on from its arrival within the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).

“2018 is the year in which we must cement the work that has been done since our rapprochement with the FIG. Milestones will be set through the implementation of educational programmes, links between the world of Parkour and the Gymnastics family will be strengthened and the World Cups will be officially launched,” said Charles Perrière, Vice President of the FIG Parkour Commission.

A Promising partnership with IPF
The FIG has always been open to collaboration with any international organisation interested in developing Parkour. Thus, a meeting was held on 23 January with representatives of the IPF (International Parkour Federation), one of the major players in the promotion of Parkour, at the FIG headquarters. In the wake of very positive discussions, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed laying the foundations for a promising collaboration on the development of Parkour.

FIG President Morinari Watanabe, Charles Perrière, Vice-President of the FIG Parkour Commission, and IPF President Victor Bevine.

Establishment of a regulatory framework
The FIG had to update certain regulations and put new ones in place in order to provide a legal framework for the development of Parkour within the Federation. The FIG therefore published in December 2017:
FIG Statutes updated to include Parkour
FIG Technical Regulations including Parkour in the “General Rules” section
and a dedicated “Special Regulations for Parkour” section
Parkour World Cup Rules
Parkour Code of Points
These rules are effective from 1 January 2018.

First World Cup series in 2018
After two test events in Montpellier (FRA) on 28 May and in Chengdu (CHN) on 4 and 5 November 2017 the FIG is preparing to launch a series of three-stage World Cups in April 2018. They will be held in Hiroshima (JPN), Montpellier (FRA) and Chengdu (CHN) as part of the FISE Action Sports Festivals, as was the case for both test events.

“For us, competition is not a goal in its own right but a multi-faceted showcase that helps raise Parkour’s profile and allows us to reach new audiences through the introductory initiatives and workshops, which take place on the fringes of all our events,” said Perrière. “In recent years a number of different Parkour-inspired competitions have flourished and therefore, we prefer to satisfy the needs of those who love competitive Parkour by offering them a format which respects the fundaments of our sport.”

And he notes that, “The success of the two events that we organised in Montpellier and Chengdu surprised even ourselves. We have seen real enthusiasm from the public which is very, very encouraging for the future.”

The first two World Cup series in 2018 and 2019 set the stage for the first World Championships in 2020, which will then be held biennially on even years.

The ultimate goal is to integrate Parkour within the Olympic programme by 2024 at the earliest. “The Olympic Games is the most beautiful sporting showcase we could have. It would be great for us to achieve this recognition, and where better than in Paris, where Parkour was born and bred,” said Perrière.

Education Programmes
At the same time, the Parkour Commission is working on developing a training curriculum for practitioners, supervisors and judges. Basic courses will be offered from spring 2018, in different languages, in each continent. Once they have acquired the basic knowledge, judges and supervisors will be able to undertake further training, which will be rolled out starting in the second half of 2018.

This education component is one of the Parkour Commission’s leading projects, aiming to develop a strong network of certified educators worldwide to guarantee healthy and gradual practice of the sport.

In this area, Parkour can certainly count on the FIG’s experience. Since 2002, thousands of coaches from regions that do not currently have a great tradition in Gymnastics have taken part in the Academies programme, gaining an understanding of the levels of progression that are necessary in order to protect the physical and psychological development of young athletes.

Training before the World Cup competition in Chengdu (CHN)

From a global to a national level
The rapprochement that the FIG and the Founders of Parkour have achieved on a global level should now serve as an incentive for the same to take place on a national level. To this end, the Parkour Commission will soon present a range of possible collaboration models to encourage national Gymnastics federations and Parkour associations to work together to find winning strategies.

These collaborations may take various forms, as is already the case for Gymnastics sports. In some countries, Artistic Gymnastics, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Trampoline Gymnastics, Acrobatic Gymnastics and Aerobic Gymnastics are each governed by different national federations. Conversely, in other countries, all these sports are managed by one single national federation. Some have already successfully incorporated a Parkour section in recent years, and this may indeed serve as an example to others.

A Promising Step Forward For Parkour Development

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) and the International Parkour Federation (IPF) have laid the groundwork for a promising cooperation in the best interests of Parkour to advance the sport worldwide as a recreational and competitive activity.

A meeting of great significance took place between the two organisations on January 23rd, at the headquarters of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The meeting was held in the presence of Morinari Watanabe, President of the FIG, Charles Perrière, one of Parkour’s founders and Vice President of the FIG Parkour Commission, and Victor Bevine, President of the International Parkour Federation (IPF).

During this meeting, FIG President Watanabe reaffirmed that the FIG would respect the autonomy of Parkour while supporting its development under the FIG umbrella.

IPF President Victor Bevine and FIG President Morinari Watanabe signing the Memorandum of Understanding between the two bodies.

The common vision shared between the participants led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. At the heart of this MoU is this central tenet:
“The FIG and IPF acknowledge that Parkour is a unique culture and commit to do their utmost to protect the culture, integrity and autonomy of the sport.”

“Last year, David Belle and I made the choice to join the FIG after being assured of the respect paid to the discipline’s identity and of a flexible way of working that is compatible with its development” said Perrière. “We are very pleased to see these commitments reaffirmed today through this exciting new partnership”.

“As long as we can be certain that Parkour will remain autonomous,” said Bevine, “then it is obvious that the resources of the FIG offer tremendous benefits to Parkour athletes and communities around the world. After this meeting, we are confident that the working group understands and will support the unique culture of Parkour”.

IPF President Victor Bevine and Charles Perrière, Vice President of the FIG Parkour Commission

It was decided that the FIG and IPF would combine their respective strengths to closely collaborate in the development of a grass roots educational program, as well as a competitive event structure, an area where IPF has extensive experience.

Though one of FIG’s stated goals is the possible inclusion of Parkour in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, the immediate focus will remain on global grass roots development and education among Parkour enthusiasts.

“As Parkour inevitably grows and progresses,” added Bevine, “it is crucial that an organization like IPF, working closely with Founders David Belle and Charles Perrière, remain an integral part of the process to help safeguard the interests of local Parkour communities and businesses and the philosophy of the sport as a whole.”