Nellie Kim: "Azerbaijan did unique things for gymnastics"

Yesterday President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation Mehriban Aliyeva, President of the International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG) Morinari Watanabe and Secretary General of FIG André Gueisbuhler have discussed the results of the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Baku. On the eve of meeting of the FIG Executive Committee, FIG Vice-President, five-time Olympic champion, five-time world champion, two-time European champion and multiple-time champion of the USSR, Nellie Kim, discussed such major events in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.

- What problems will be discussed during the Executive Committee meeting?

- Right now there are several commissions, whose task is to prepare and submit proposals for discussion. One commission works on competitions and marketing, the other - educational commission - on problems of gymnastics training in the world. In other words, how to help countries, where this sport is not developed at all, how to do promotional work. There is also a commission that develops new gymnastic apparatuses, which makes them safer for the athletes. These commissions have presented a four-year plan for the development of gymnastics. They have already made suggestions that could affect, for example, the qualifications for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. This is a big change compared to the previous cycle. The budget and plans for the future activities will also be discussed. A report on preparations for the World Cup will be presented. Technical committees will provide all the necessary information.

As for the existing problems, we can't find those wishing to hold World Aerobics or Acrobatics Championships. There are problems with the judges and with the organization that hold the Universiade. Plans that were submitted to various Olympic committees are just too much.

- Are there any plans to introduce some innovations before the Olympics in Tokyo?

- FIG President Morinari Watanabe proposed to introduce electronic judgment system. He showed us the program, developed by Japan's Fujitsu company. This program records all angles, positions. Based on this, computer will give a D score. It takes a lot of time for judges to give a D score , it's difficult to calculate, therefore it's often subjective. This program is great, but it's not complete yet - it should be tested several times, so that the athletes would get correct score. We saw how it works, how it evaluates some exercises, but there are different exercises in gymnastics. Computer can't evaluate everything - especially something like artistry, originality, virtuosity. So far, human factor is indispensable.

- Azerbaijan has already held three world cups this year. What do you think about them?

- The work Azerbaijan did is great. What it did to develop gymnastics over the past few years can't be done some countries in decades. The leadership of the country plays a huge role in this. Unfortunately, I'm acquainted with with President of the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation, Mehriban Aliyeva, but I can imagine how much she does for the development of gymnastics, how she thinks about the future generations, about the development of sport and about the nation. Gymnastics is a great sport for young children, and there are huge prospects for its development. I think Azerbaijan is moving in the right direction. 

I remember how we spoke with Secretary General of the Federation Farid Gaibov about what needs to be done to develop gymnastics, and a lot has been done since. Azerbaijan did unique things. It's great that there is a good team; young, active, educated people are working in the Federation. They do everything professionally.

- You mentioned Farid Gaibov. At the end of this year there will be elections to the European Union of Gymnastics (UEG) and Farid Gaibov will be a candidate for this post. How do you assess his chances?

- If Farid Gaibov becomes UEG President - it will be a natural result of all of his work. He proved by his work in the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation that people can not only talk, but also work, and that Azerbaijan is constantly working and there are real results. Right now he is Vice-President of the UEG, and Azerbaijan makes a great contribution to the development of European gymnastics. So for me it's normal and logical that Gaibov should become president of the UEG. I don't see another candidate and I'm sure he is going to win.

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