Farid Gaibov: "We very satisfied with first day of Artistic Gymnastics World Cup in Baku"

The first qualifying day of the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup came to an end in Baku. The Azerbaijani gymnasts advanced to four finals of six possible: Marina Nekrasova advanced to the vault finals, ranking third, Julia Inshina and Ekaterina Tishkova advanced to the uneven bars finals, ranking sixth and eighth, and Murad Agarzayev advanced to the floor finals, ranking first and the parallel bars finals, ranking eighth. The Vice-President of the European Union of Gymnastics, Secretary General of the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation, Farid Gaibov, told Vestnik Kavkaza about the results of the first day.

- How would you assess the results of the first day of the Cup for the Azerbaijani team?

- I would have called it Murad Agarzayev's day. We relied on him very much. Last year Murad performed among juniors at the European Championships, and this Cup has become the first serious start for him. And if we expected him to succeed in the floor exercises, he did a good job in the parallel bars exercises as well. Today, Murad Agarzayev achieved 100% success: he performed twice and advanced to both finals. He is pleased with himself, and we are pleased with his results. Therefore, I believe that today he made our day, which means that it is his day.

In general, our team performed very well. I want to note Marina Nekrasova's performance in the vault. She is in very good shape, and today she showed what she is capable of. Julia Inshina and Ekaterina Tishkova both advanced to the uneven bars finals and cheered us up as well. We are satisfied with the results of today. The opening of the World Cup was a success. Thanks to the fans for coming and supporting our team. There are still three days ahead - tomorrow's qualification, and the finals on Saturday and Sunday. The tension is increasing every day, especially closer to the finals, when the stakes are medals, but I hope that it will go smoothly for us.

- The organization of a tournament of such level is technically difficult. In your estimation, did everything go as planned today?

- Thank God, there were no problems. In fact, we ourselves make things more difficult, we increase the level of the competitions with each time. The lightning that you see on all the apparatus, you will not see at any other World Cup. This is a kind of innovation - usually such lighting is used for a show, but we did everything according to the technical regulations within the rules, to make it interesting for the audience in order to popularize this sport in Azerbaijan. In addition, the World Cup is broadcast to the whole world, those who know and love gymnastics, watch it on television and the Internet. The lighting crew and Smartscoring, the counting company, have done a good job. Everything was in its places and there were no problems. The only thing, the Israeli athlete had a little accident today, but he was taken to the hospital and that's turned out okay. I hope everyone will be on the lookout for the next three days as well. In general, I am very pleased with the first day and hope that the remaining three days will be held at a good level.

- Azerbaijan has long established itself as a successful organizer of such events, in particular, many athletes note the active support of the stands. How it is possible?

- We have a youth fan club supporting athletes. They act on their own, and they are healthy young people, which our young country needs. I want to express my gratitude to them. Every time we hold the World Cup, we get a lot of Facebook massages and emails, because it's interesting for young people. We hold different shows during the competitions, they dance here, participate in various quizzes. Today, for example, there were drums here, they were playing drums. Usually young people go to cinemas and cafes, and our fans spend time with us, and I think this is a very useful pastime.

- The Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation was once again included in the list of the top 10 event organizers by the Executive Committee of the International Gymnastics Federation. What merits of the AGF did they evaluate so highly in your opinion?

- I note that the person who got on this list receives some financial support from the FIG, and it's very pleasant that we have been on this list for the last three years. We achieve this due to the fact that we actively participate in international life, regularly hold events, not only competitions, but also international courses. Being in the top ten federations of the FIG is not just pleasant, but also stimulates to strive to remain on this list. I hope that we will stay there for many years.

- Azerbaijan is in the middle of a busy cycle of gymnastic events. Now it is artistic gymnastics, a month later - rhythmic, then the Islamic Solidarity Games. How do you have enough resources for it?

- Indeed, it is a very difficult year for us. First, we held intercontinental referee courses here in Baku, there were all the judges who will be judging competitions in rhythmic gymnastics for the next four years. Then we held courses, in which only 20 Azerbaijani judges participated. Then we held the international courses in men's rhythmic gymnastics. We also held the FIG World Cup in Trampoline Gymnastics. Now we are holding the fifth event of this scale - the Cup in artistic gymnastics. In late April, there will be another World Cup with a large number of participants from different countries - in rhythmic gymnastics. Rhythmic gymnastics gathers more spectators in the stands, it is more popular, but we intend to develop other sports.

Immediately after the rhythmic gymnastics, we will hold two another big events - the Council of International Federations, which consists of the leadership of the international federations - the president, the vice president, the executive committee member, the president of the technical committees, the president of the continental unions. In short, all the leadership of the International Federation will arrive in Baku. Immediately after it, we will hold the Islamic Solidarity Games. Their program for the first time includes gymnastics - both artistic and rhythmic, both men's and women's. After the Islamic Games, our athletes will go to different competitions in parallel, as the European championships will begin. The international calendar has changed a lot, it has become more saturated.

- What's it in connection with?

- There are a lot of competitions, the same Islamic Games for example. Last year, the First European Games were held for the first time. In addition, there is the Universiade, the World Games, the Youth Olympic Festival, the Youth Olympiad. Each athlete chooses his own calendar. Because of this, it is sometimes difficult to gather a large number of athletes at competitions. Therefore, we are especially pleased that Olympic champions come to our competitions. Some countries, which do not go everywhere, came here to visit us. There is a Romanian gymnast Catalina Ponor. This year Romania will host the European Championship, and Ponor is a star of world scale. Oksana Chusovitina is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the only participant in the seven Olympic Games in the history of gymnastics. Greek gymnast, Olympic champion in 2016 in the rings exercises Eleftherios Petrounias won the golden medal in the balance beam exercises. Hungarian Krisztián Berki, who won the golden medal in the balance beam exercises at the World Championships in artistic gymnastics, proved at the last World Cup that he is a serious athlete. Next week there will be another World Cup - in Doha. Many athletes will fly to Doha directly from Baku.

- The Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation always come up with new things and innovations. Can you already disclose any ideas for the Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship, Islamic Solidarity Games?

- The World Cup in Trampoline Gymnastics was held with light on the apparatus, now this innovation is repeated. A quadrangular monitor hung above, we lowered it down, made one big monitor. There are very good feedback from the fans, and the athletes also like it, because they see a very good picture. We try to show everything on this monitor. We have a good designer, I am satisfied with the scoring company that serves us. And it's nice that the Azerbaijani brand is a partner of the European Gymnastics Union and they will serve all the European championships.

- Will there be such lightning at the coming World Cup in rhythmic gymnastics in Baku?

- We already had such experience last year, and there will be a surprise at the opening . People like opening ceremonies, they visit them with pleasure. We also involve parents with children. There are trampolines in our hall, equipment for artistic gymnastics, a carpet for rhythmic gymnastics. It attracts, and after each such competition we get a lot of letters and calls with questions: "Where is the gymnastics section?", "How do our child join it?" "Until what age?" Sometimes adults want to do gymnastics. One of our goals is to develop all these sports and attract people to sport. Now we are developing all six kinds of gymnastics recognized by the International Federation, and many of them are new to Azerbaijan. Our goal is to attract more children, so that we have worthy successors in gymnastics.The most important thing is healthy youth, a healthy nation. This is the common goal of our state, our Ministry of Sport and the Olympic Committee.

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