Daniela Delle Chiaie: "Holding of licensed Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Baku is important for FIG"

By Vestnik Kavkaza
Daniela Delle Chiaie: "Holding of licensed Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Baku is important for FIG"

Today the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup will be opened in Baku, participation of 94 gymnasts from 21 countries is expected in the event. FIG Technical Delegate Daniela Delle Chiaie told Vestnik Kavkaza about the choice of Baku as a venue for a licensed Olympic tournament and innovations in gymnastics.

- First of all, what is the significance of the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Baku from the point of view of FIG?

- Last summer, it was decided that only four World Cups will give athletes licenses to participate in the Olympic Games, and I am very pleased with the fact that Baku is among them along with Pesaro (Italy), Tashkent (Uzbekistan) and Sofia (Bulgaria). As we enter the Olympic family, it is really important for us that the World Cup, which gives the license for the Olympics, will be held here. Baku showed good organizational skills, we highly appreciated the gymnastic arena for holding tournaments, and the beautiful atmosphere reigning at the Baku competitions. Azerbaijan has economic opportunities necessary for holding international tournaments, and it is very good that it is engaged in organizing gymnastic competitions.

Separately, I would like to note the rapid growth of Azerbaijani gymnasts, especially girls participating in group exercises. Azerbaijan has already won one medal in Vienna in the junior competition, and this year the republic has the opportunity to win even more medals with the senior team. I already saw the group routine, and it was good.

- Who do you see as the main favorites both in the group and in the individual exercises?

- In the group final I see the teams from Italy, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Azerbaijan. The gymnasts from Bulgaria, Belarus and Italy will reach the individual apparatus finals. Due to the fact that Yana Kudryavtseva and Margarita Mamun no longer represent Russia, the Russian team is unlikely to perform better than at the last World Cup in Baku. In general, this year there are not many well-known names, in fact, only Veronica Bertolini and Neviana Vladinova, others are just starting their way and we need to wait for them to grow in full force. By the way, there are certain chances for a high result of the Azerbaijani gymnast Zhala Piriyeva. In fact, we will witness the dawn of new results at the World Cup in Baku.

- How do you assess the work of AGF?

- It's my second time in Baku, and I really like what I see here, Azerbaijan's relation towards artistic gymnastics. FIG, for its part, does everything in its power to encourage such an attitude - we entrust Baku with holding big competitions, because we perceive the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation seriously. Over the years, international tournaments have been increasingly held in Baku, and I can say that the AGF has really grown in terms of their organization. Not least, it is done due to the initiative of the Azerbaijani organizers, who want and are able to hold responsible competitions. Therefore, Baku can only be congratulated on everything that it does and what it is trying to achieve. I hope that all the efforts which the FIG has contributed to the creation of this competition will be reimbursed by very good results of the gymnasts, especially since not every country has the opportunity to work at such arena as the National Gymnastics Arena in Baku.

- How do you assess the level of refereeing in Azerbaijan?

- Judges in Azerbaijan are as capable as in other countries. They know the business they are doing, they work at the proper level.

- How does the FIG refer to the new rules of gymnastic competitions?

- The changes that have been made were useful, as they have improved the quality of refereeing. Now any judge can immediately evaluate what he sees, and make an assessment. It greatly simplified participating in competitions for gymnasts: before judges had a plan for the performance of an athlete with the list of exercises she had to perform, and if she missed something, this led to a fine - and now, since judges do not see the plan and assess only what they see, even if a gymnast misses some element because of music stops or she forgets something, she gets points for what she did, and not for what she had to do. Another good innovation is the division of ratings for artistry and difficulty, which creates certain balance: if a gymnast is not strong in technique, but she is good in artistry, she will receive higher scores for artistry and will be able to win, as well as vice versa. Scores of all gymnasts are balanced this way. In the past, there has always been a maximum score that can be give, and now there is a restriction only for the minimum score, so, is a gymnast shows everything she is capable of, she will be assessed accordingly, not with a maximum limit.

- What is important for the FIG in both criteria - execution and difficulty?

 - As for execution, the composition and idea, conveyed by a gymnast during her performance, are important there. Music is important for the rhythm of the exercises, which can be romantic, heroic or sad. A gymnast, choosing a melody, must respect an idea of her music, and be able to convey it. Performance under the Spanish music should differ from performance under the Italian tarantella, and it is necessary to select the appropriate background music for a scale of movements which a gymnast wants to show. The difficulty is a demonstration of what the gymnast's body is capable of, in particular, jumping and maintaining balance. Sometimes balance cannot be maintained, even if standing with two legs on the arena - it is very important to control the center of gravity, and if a gymnast suddenly shifts it, this can result both in her fall and that she will be repulsed from the floor. There is a 0.5 mark deduction for falling off, as well as for errors.

- How difficult is it to objectively judge competitions, because the evaluation of artistry is often a matter of taste?

- Indeed, the most difficult thing that exists in the current refereeing is to be objective. It is the problem of all artistic sports, because all of them include a personal opinion of judges. You can give a gymnast points for artistry only because you like her, that's why you cannot exclude subjectivity, someone wins medals because of it, and someone does not. Of course, if there are mistakes, it is easy to judge, but if both athletes have done everything at the right level, then the medal is in the hands of a judge who will decide who should receive it based on his subjective opinion.