Slovenia – During the Youth World Championships Savate and World Cup held 22-25 June, the International Savate Federation (FISav) and United Through Sports signed a Memorandum of Understanding. 

FISav is a member of the AIMS umbrella group amongst 21 international federations under the leadership of President Stephan Fox. AIMS works to strengthen each sport, share knowledge, and works in close cooperation with the IOC towards receiving full IOC recognition. The President of FISav Julie Gabriel, has been a firm supporter of UTS since inception. FISav has contributed towards 5 editions of the UTS World Youth Festival and built a strong partnership over the years.

Savate is a combat sport founded in France and has now competed in over 75 countries. The concept is ‘to touch without being touched’. It is an elegant form of confrontation where only the feet and hands can be used; use of knees, elbows and chins is forbidden. This sport requires elegance, tactics, a planned strategy of response and initiation and is not won by force. To not get touched a lot of lateral movements are involved.

With the MOU signing, FISav and UTS agree to work together in promoting and developing sports and youth development locally and around the world, with the aim to foster inclusion.

Left to right: Julia Govinden (CEO, UTS), Julie Gabriel (President, FISav)

Slovenia welcomed the Federation International de Savate, and with the Austrian delegation as the local organising committee hosted the Youth World Championships. Savate is a growing sport with more and more athletes finding their way to the Savate ring from around the world. During the Youth world Championships over 120 athletes joined from across 3 continents, and were watched over by 170 international Judges, Referees, Coaches and supporting Parents. Savate athletes competed in the age groups across 13 – 17 years old. 

As a great step towards inclusion a young refugee from Afghanistan joined the Youth World Championships, having been trained and supported by the Austrian delegation. It was a touching moment to see how sport gives opportunity beyond any barrier or challenge.  Vice President, Gilles Le Duigou is regarded as an icon of the sport and said: “Children and education are very important for the International Savate Federation. We want to share our sport with people, especially the young, regardless of their background or difficulties. Savate is now successful in many countries because of its educational values, teaching respect for other people and for the rules. “

FISav President Julie Gabriel shared her joy towards making the partnership official and said: “We are very happy to work alongside UTS and to be involved in the World Youth Festivals, which have given opportunities to young people all around the world. We receive great feedback from our young participants – particularly those who win medals, of course – they have found the festivals inspiring and an opportunity to share their skills and talents.“

The championships was joined by UTS CEO Julia Govinden and was the perfect opportunity to thank the FISav family for their continued support. A medal of appreciation was given to Maja Odžić, Chair of Arbitration Commission for her dedication to ensuring as many young Savate athletes had the opportunity to join UTS festivals as possible over the years. Julia also had the opportunity to meet with the officials and technical delegates gaining a new perspective on the sport and its unifying power. 

Julia Govinden said: “It has been a touching experience and so educational to hear firsthand from the Savate family how the sport changes lives. Every single person I have met at the championships is here because Savate has given a positive impact to their lives and they all agree they could not imagine life without this combat sport. I am deeply honoured to join this family atmosphere and such a warm welcome, grace and respect are certainly at the core of this federation.”

With the World Combat Games approaching in Riyadh 21-30 October, FISav and UTS are looking forward to strengthening the focus towards inclusion for the next generations through sport and cooperation.

Learn more about the International Savate Federation (FISav):