Russian pride of Azerbaijani origin



By Vestnik Kavkaza

This weekend, the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships ended in Moscow. A Russian athlete of Azeri origin, Emin Garibov, won the horizontal bar discipline. He is a young athlete who managed to win many international competitions, performed at the London Olympic Games, and became a captain of the Russian national team.

He thinks that parents are the most important people in his life. “Emin has been doing gymnastics since he was 4 and a half. We have many times thought about quitting or changing the kind of sport,” the champion’s father Nadir Garibov says. “But when he achieved first results, his first victories, no doubts were left that we chose a right path.”

The Garibovs have two sons – elder Anar and younger Emin. Emin also swam and played football. But he didn’t achieve such results in swimming, so the choice was obvious. The Garibovs live near “Dynamo” subway, and the school where Emin went was surrounded by sporting complexes Dynamo, CSKA, SYuP, Krylya Sovetov. Many children were professional athletes in his school. People said that Emin had chances for success, but coaches warned that it is difficult to predict whether a boy could be a good gymnast before 14-15 years.

Emin’s first major junior victory came to him in 2008 at the European Championship in Switzerland – the gold medal in the horizontal bar and the silver medal in the parallel bars. “When he participated in the European Championship, we could watched him at TV. Our elder son and his wife arrived and we all gathered to watch the final,” Emin’s mother Natavan says.

Then, there were a lot of traumas. “People lose health in professional sport. Watching it, we feel sorry for him and worry about him very much,” Natavan says. However, in summer 2011 Emin performed at the Russia’s Cup and became a two-time champion in the all-around and the horizontal bar. In autumn he took part in qualifications to the Olympic Games as a member of the men’s national team of Russia.

“I realized that I couldn’t gain medals in the national team, if I didn’t improve my physical conditions and technique. There is no space for junior programs in the world arena. Me and my coach stepped back for a while and improved my program. There were injures, but not serious. I like an atmosphere of competitions – the noise of a stadium. That is why I used to attend football matches in the past. I am a Dynamo’s fan. Of course I feel nervous and excited, but I manage to cope with it,” Emin states.

Ahead of the Olympics in London Garibov became the captain of the national team. “The head coach Andrey Rodionenko said that we had to choose the captain, and guys called my name. There was no voting. Of course, such attitude is pleasant. One thing is when you believe you are a leader, another thing is when your friends support you,” Emin thinks.

Now Emin is training for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro even though he will have to go to Brazil only in August 2016. He doesn’t think about a coach career yet: “Coaching is not for me. I am training a lot in gym. And when I think that all my life I will have to spend there… And one have to spend a lot of nerves and forces to raise an athlete. I think about getting the second higher education, for example in the sphere of financials and economics.”

The athlete spends a short time between trainings at home with parents. “He likes eating, especially sweets. He eats everything that I cook,” Natavan says. She only feels sorry that real Azerbaijani national cuisines he ate more than 10 years ago in Baku: “He was in Baku only when he was a child. Later we couldn’t come there because of training.”

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