Paris 2024's sports director Jean-Philippe Gatien is to step down from his position ©Getty Images

Sports director for the Organising Committee of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Jean-Philippe Gatien, has resigned from his position just 18 months before the Games come to the French capital.

insidethegames understands Gatien has stepped down due to "personal reasons", with executive director of sports competition and deputy sports director, Aurélie Merle, to fill the role.

Merle joined the Organising Committee in July 2018.

He is remembered as one of the key members of staff at Paris 2024, being part of the team during the bidding process as sports director since 2015.

Prior to the official bid, he was involved in preparatory workshops alongside some of his future colleagues, including Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet.

He oversaw major decisions as sports director such as moving surfing competition to Tahiti in French Polynesia, over 15,000 kilometres away from the host city Paris; as well as being part of the team to reject karate's request to stay on the Olympic programme after debuting at Tokyo 2020.

Jean-Philippe Gatien, left, was a major player in the Paris 2024 bid ©Getty Images
Jean-Philippe Gatien, left, was a major player in the Paris 2024 bid ©Getty Images

"A very emotional departure for Paris 2024 given Jean-Philippe Gatien played a key role in all of the different stages of Paris 2024," said a Paris 2024 source to insidethegames.

"Paris 2024 thanks Jean-Philippe Gatien for all his work and wishes him all the best for the future.

"Deputy director of Sports Aurélie Merle will assume his role and we wish her all of the best."

In January 2022, he announced he would be stepping down from his role as President of the Board at France's National Institute of Sport, Expertise, and Performance after seven years at the helm to focus on his duties at Paris 2024.

He was a two-time Olympic medallist in table tennis in his playing days, as well as the men's singles world champion in 1993.