Nina Pravdina: "I make bet on gene pool of Azerbaijanis"
Baku held the Azerbaijan and Open Baku Women’s and Men’s Artistic Gymnastics Championship and the 23rd Azerbaijan Acrobatic Gymnastics Championship. Without any break from bright impressions from the last competitions at the 23rd Baku Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship, as well as the 2nd Azerbaijan Aerobic Gymnastics Championship, the country's Gymnastics Federation has arranged a new holiday for sports fans. The two-day event was attended by 115 athletes representing different schools of Baku and Sumgait.
At the National gymnastics arena, it was possible to observe performances of the younger age groups, juniors and already venerable sportsmen such as Oleg Stepko, who represented the country at the last Olympics in Brazil. If newcomers and youth have demonstrated the potential, Stepko's performance looked more like a test of strength before the World Cup, which will be held in Baku in March.
Such new young athletes as Ali Khalilov, Sergey Onbish, Shamhal Akhmedov and Ramin Damirov, who became champions of the country, suggest that a worthy generation of gymnasts is growing up in Azerbaijan.
The coach of the national artistic gymnastics team, Nina Pravdina, told Vestnik Kavkaza about the process of forming "a real Azerbaijani athlete": "The work has just begun. There was no gymnastics at a serious level in Azerbaijan for 20 years, today we do almost everything from scratch. Of course, this championship will open new names. I also should say about the tenacity of many children. All of them are trying to prove themselves. This championship will be remembered by a large number of complex elements in the youth programs".
According to Pravdina, now they are preparing for the World Cup in Baku scheduled for March, the European Championships and the Islamic Solidarity Games: "There are very good prospects for the development of gymnastics in Azerbaijan, and I think that in the near future there will be drastic changes in this sport. There is absolutely every opportunity for this purpose, the federation created excellent conditions, and most importantly, they have a resource. Azerbaijani children, when compared with other countries, are very prepared physically. Adults too. I make a bet on the gene pool of Azerbaijanis, because it is a very healthy nation, and when children in other countries get sick, these children work. "
Tempo and combined routines of acrobats were spectacular. They determined the strongest athletes in the different age categories - in the men's, women's and mixed doubles and women's groups. The views of experts on the prospects of acrobatics were optimistic.
The head coach of the national team, Irada Kurbanova, told Vestnik Kavkaza that this championship is the most powerful and effective in comparison with the previous: "We have an insufficient number of adult athletes at this tournament, so we have attracted young athletes to the championship, which perform according to the adult programme and under the new rules. It will give them confidence to perform at the Junior Olympics in 2018, that is, we have a two-year reserve". According to her, acrobatics has a great potential in Azerbaijan.
"The young generation has a great potential. Thanks to the support of the Federation, we are developing. Today, we also give preference to local athletes, all the conditions have been created in the country for this purpose. Today we are known in other countries' sporting circles. Such infrastructure does not exist anywhere else, except for Baku. And athletes from many countries come here today largely because of such conditions. Recently, the Iranian national team was there, they conducted a joint training with us. That is, today we are a developing team," she said.
Today Azerbaijani gymnasts are preparing for the March World Cup, and in 2018 there will be a qualification for the Games in Tokyo. Baku increasingly resembles a sports tourism center, and whenever you come to Baku, you will inevitably find yourself at a major sporting event.