Tournament in rhythmic gymnastics among juniors to qualify for the third European Summer Youth Olympic Games was held in Moscow today. On this occasion, president of the European Union of Gymnastics Farid Gaibov visited Russian capital. Head of the UEG discussed plans of the union and the upcoming tournament in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- First of all, we would like to congratulate you on your election as president of the UEG. What are your current plans, would do you plan to do as president of such large-scale organization?
- Thank you! Indeed, the European Union of Gymnastics is a big organization. 50 European countries are members of it, and it's great that delegations from all 50 countries participated in the last UEG congress. A meeting of presidential commission was held, then we held executive committee and meeting with presidents of the technical committees, where we discussed our vision of European gymnastics in the next 4 years and, naturally, want we want to do this year. We have big plans, there are certain innovations that we want to implement, although we just started to discuss them. We still need to outline implementation plan. We also talked to sponsors, our two big partners, SmartScoring, with which we will soon sign a new contract, and the group of sports equipment manufacturers Janssen-Fritsen, Spieth Gymnastics, Gymnova and Eurotramp.
In the framework of cooperation with these partners in 2018, we plan to organize a program to develop gymnastics in developing countries. We will provide assistance and equipment, as well as conduct educational courses for coaches and judges. Most small gymnastics countries have problems with different types of gymnastics, including 7 competitive disciplines plus 1 non-competitive - not all countries develop all 8. In this connection, one of the UEG tasks is to help all countries to develope as much gymnasts as possible. The training of judges is one of the key points of this program, simce judging rules change every four years and not every country can afford to send its representatives to various international courses, although judges must be trained. Coaching courses, in turn, are necessary. When there's some gymnastic disciplines have amd there's a shortage of specialists to help countries in bringing of coaches to a new sports.
As for the International Federation of Gymnastics, meeting of the FIG executive committee will be held at the end of February, and this will be my first meeting as a member of the executive committee. A number of innovations are expected to be discussed, since the FIG announced that 2018 will be a year of innovations. Ideas and plans proposed by president of the International Federation of Gymnastics and the commissions will be disccused. There's TeamGym, which is still developing only in Europe, but we want it to spread to other continents, because there's an interest in this, particularly in the US and Australia.
- What will you do in Moscow?
- The third Youth Olympic Games will be held this year in Buenos Aires. There will be such gymnastics disciplines as rhythmic gymnastics, men's and women's artistic gymnastics, trampoline and acrobatics competitions. By the way, acrobatics, which is not an Olympic discipline, was included in the program of these competitions for the first time, and its inclusion is a great achievement for the entire gymnastics community. Tomorrow Moscow will host first qualification for these competitions in rhythmic gymnastics. This is the first UEG event of the season, so the main goal of my visit is to observe competitions.
I already met president of the Artistic Gymnastics Federation of Russia Vasily Titov, we talked about how Russia, a great gymnastics country, can participate in the life of European gymnastics. Certain agreements on cooperation between the UEG and this federation were reached. Today we held a meeting with head coach of the Russian national gymnastics team Andrei Rodionenko, during the training base at Lake Krugloe, where we also discussed cooperation issues. I would like to note that there have been a lot of tournaments in rhythmic gymnastics in Moscow for many years, And these competitions have always been distinguished by a high level of organization.
- Last year the FIG introduced post of the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championship ambassador. Alina Kabaeva was appointed to this post. Will you use the same practice in the European Championship?
- Indeed, one of the innovations of the FIG is the ambassadors commission, which includes first Olympic champions in trampolining Irina Karavaeva and Evgeny Moskalenko. They were ambassadors at the Trampolining World Championship. As for the European Championship, we have already discussed this subject with the FIG vice-president Nelly Kim, who is dealing with the ambassadors commission, and we will meet with her again during the FIG Executive Committee meeting to discuss the same issue. In my opinion, with right organization, it's a very good idea, since people are interested in stars of the sport. We will try to follow the example of the FIG.
By the way, when we met with Morinari Watanabe, we agreed that the UEG will closely cooperate with the FIG in the future, because I think that Europe is the strongest gymnastics continent. After all, the UEG includes 50 countries. Both parties need this cooperation. All competitions in gymnastics are held according to the FIG rules, continents don't have their own rules, therefore Europe should actively participate in discussion on common rules, in technical committees.
- Since becoming president of the UEG, what events did you attend, what meeting did you hold?
- I held my first meeting as president in Switzerland. I also visited Ukraine, I came there for the jubilee of famous gymnast, two-time world champion Irina Deryugina. In addition, I visited Moldova. The Moldavian Gymnastics Federation invited us. In Moldova, I met with the country's sport leadership, including vice-president of the Olympic Committee and Deputy Minister of Sport. We looked at their halls, discussed assistance to Moldovan gymnastics at the local level and its future.
- What are the prospects for development of modern gymnastics and its disciplines in the European continent?
- Gymnastics is still developing, we're holding more and more major international events. The 1st European Games were held in Baku in 2015, now it's expected that the 2nd European Games will be held in Belarus. We discussed the results of the 1st European Games at the UEG executive committee meeting and with technical committee and agreed that we will leave all six types of gymnastics in the program. Let me remind you that at that time we introduced a new format of competitions, added competitions in rhythmic gymnastics and acrobatics, trampolining and aerobics. This was done in order to show more on TV and to draw additional attention to non-Olympic acrobatics and aerobics. These competitions were held toghether with Olympic disciplines. We discussed this format, saw some of its drawbacks, dealt with them and now we're preparing for the 2nd European Games.
In August of this year Glasgow and Berlin will host the European Championships for the first time. It's a new project. Continental competitions in 7 sports will be held. We participate in this project and will hold the European Championships in artistic gymnastics in Glasgow. Usually competitioms take place in spring, but since we as decided to participate in the European Championships, we agreed to postpone them to the end of summer. Let's see how these competitions will be held. If this project has future, then every year we will have large-scale competitions in gymnastics, including the Olympic Games, World and European Championships, in addition to many other tournaments such as Universiade, Mediterranean Games and so on. All of this creates additional work for federations, they have to come up with schedules, since gymnast sometimes can't perform at all competitions.
Most importantly, I want technical committees to work on all types of gymnastics, to work on format of every European Championship. One of the main goals is to sell our product. In order to do this, it has to be interesting. Since now we have target audience - young people, they should watch gymnastics, and if gymnastics will be popular, TV channels will sign deals with us. So far we managed to sell only Olympic sports - artistic gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics, although other disciplines are also beautiful. In the future, we want to sell trampolining, aerobics and acrobatics, make their format brighter and more interesting. In this regard, last year, together with partner company SmartScoring, we began to work on TV graphics, so that information on the scoreboard was more accessible to the audience. We made a new website, where viewers can watch the European Championship online.