Steve Butcher: "The level of gymnastics in Azerbaijan will only grow"

Today, the four-day international judicial FIG courses in men's artistic gymnastics started in Baku. Thus, from the beginning of the year the capital of Azerbaijan hosts already the third referees courses of the International Gymnastics Federation. The participants, including 62 representatives of gymnastic federations of 17 countries, will be able to get the title of judge. Vestnik Kavkaza talked with the president of the FIG Technical Committee on Gymnastics, Steve Butcher, about the importance of these courses for the world of sports.

-It is interesting to know your opinion about significance of these courses for the artistic gymnastic movement. What is your opinion about that? 

-The first thing is this gymnastics federation has been the most active, probably, in the history of the International Gymnastic Federation. And my opinion about this course in general in spotted area - this is the most important training for men gymnastic  judges. And we have  such a spectacular setting, with such great organization, this is my first time in Baku, and it is an amazing country, amazing city. I cannot say enough to praise the organizers of this course. 

-What is the difference between this course and the last ones?

-We have one major course to select our top judges, which is called the Intercontinental course. This is one of ten international courses to train all of the other judges around the world. And it is significant, because judges from this course also have the ability to judge the Olympic games. 

-What is your opinion about Azerbaijan’s bid to host the 2020 European Men’s  Gymnastics Championship?

-My first comment about Azerbaijan and Baku hosting the 2020 European Championships is ‘I want to be there’, and secondly, this would be the final competition to qualify for the Olympic games. The stress for the athletes and coaches and significance of this competition in qualifying to go to top guild are huge. And Baku, I want to say they were lucky to receive the bid, because it is no luck, they have experience in hosting the European games. Everyone knows, it will be an excellent competition. 

-What can you tell about the level of the artistic gymnastics in Azerbaijan? 

-Obviously, without naming your gymnastic in particular, the level only seems to rise. And I think that Azerbaijan has a great chance for medals, not in the world championships, but in the next Olympic games.

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