Azerbaijan aims to become the leader in world gymnastics, the Vice-President of the European Gymnastics Union, Secretary General of Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation, Farid Gaibov, stated in an interview to Vestnik Kavkaza, speaking about the preparations for the final FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup, which will be held in Baku on July 22-24.
- Please tell us about the work that is being done by the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation for the organization of the FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup?
- This year Azerbaijan is hosting three world cups. Two of them – on trampolining and artistic gymnastics – have already ended. This year, the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup is the last of the ten world cups being held by the International Federation. The World Cup winner will be determined on the results of these ten stages. Here in Baku, the International Federation Cup will be awarded to the winner. In addition, according to tradition, we will award the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation Cup for the best performance.
As for the organization, we created the organizing committee, which is actively working. We have no problems so far. In 2014 the state constructed a special sports complex for us, which helped our work. The European Championship was held in this hall, the European Games were held here last year. Everything is going according to plan.
- Can we say that thanks to the work of the Federation and athletes, Azerbaijan is becoming one of the world leaders in gymnastics?
- Of course, we are trying to make this come true. I think that no one has conditions as good as ours. Our complex is for gymnastics exclusively, here athletes can train in all six types of gymnastics, competitions of any scale can be held here – from local to major international competitions. The very existence of such a complex means that we have already turned into one of the leaders in gymnastics. Obviously we can't talk about old traditions. There are countries that have centuries of traditions, but we are creating this school here.
Over the past few years we introduced several new disciplines: women's artistic gymnastics, trampolining, aerobics. We carry out international competitions, popularize these sports, so they develop. Other activities are carried out in addition to these competitions. The International Gymnastics Federation has a special grading system: based on the results of the year, they determine the five best federations that were the most active. Considering the conduction of various international competitions, refereeing and coaching courses, I can say that we already were in this top five for the last two years.
- What international tournaments are in the plans of Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation right now?
- This year, it is our last major international competition. The Olympic Games begin two weeks after that. And after the Olympic Games a new season begins, a new Olympic cycle, and we must prepare for it. We still have a few local competitions, including the Azerbaijani Championship. It should be noted that the federations of neighboring countries send their athletes to our local competition. And there are constantly a lot of countries at our training camps.
In the next cycle, we plan to carry out various international refereeing courses. As of today, we have already started work on the organization, but it all depends on the International Federation, whether they will accept our request. We also plan to participate in the World Cup, but only in Olympic disciplines so far.
As for acrobatics and aerobics, those are new sports, and we need to achieve certain results in order to participate in the World Cups. So we have to raise good athletes who can represent their country in front of the local audience. So there are no plans for acrobatics or aerobics for next year, but that is only for next year. In the future, of course, we will also carry out competitions in these sports.