Vice-President of European Union of Gymnastics Farid Gaibov tells about first World Cup in artistic gymnastics in Baku
Azerbaijan is to host the World Gymnastics Cup thanks to the successful performance of Azerbaijani gymnasts at the First European Games in Baku, the Vice-President of the European Union of Gymnastics, Secretary General of the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation Farid Gaibov said in an interview for the Vestnik Kavkaza during an interview devoted to the beginning of the World Cup gymnastics FIG series Challenge on February 19th, the first international tournament in this kind of sport in Baku.
The Vice-President of the European Gymnastics Union recalled that, during the competition at the First European Games in Baku, gymnast Oleg Stepko became a five-time medalist and the only Azerbaijani athlete to win five awards at the Games, and another medal was won by the team in the team competition.
"Thus, this sport has become increasingly popular in our country, and the leadership of the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation decided to hold a World Cup gymnastics competition, which is to begin on February 19th. It will be the first Cup in Azerbaijan in this kind of sport. We organized similar competitions only in rhythmic gymnastics. In addition, the World Cup opens a season of such tournaments,'' Farid Gaibov said.
According to the vice-president of the European Union of Gymnasts, athletes from 19 countries will compete for the Cup awards. At the same time, Farid Gaibov noted that everyone will be able to go to Baku.
"This year is very difficult, as the Olympic Games will take place in August in Rio de Janeiro. In addition, the European Championship is to take place soon, and a test tournament will take place on the eve of the Olympics. The thing is that not all athletes have received licenses for the Olympics, and some of them will defend this right in Rio in April. Moreover, February is the beginning of the season, and not everybody is ready for it,'' the general secretary of the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation said.
Speaking about the plans of the Azerbaijani national team at these competitions, Farid Gaibov first mentioned Oleg Stepko. "Last year, he won a medal at the world championship in parallel bars, and he should do better than at the First European Games. Certainly, we are looking forward to it, people expect medals, and more than one,'' he pointed out.
"But Stepko's team partner Petro Pahnyuk will do his best. He is also a quite a strong gymnast, and he is preparing for this tournament. Oleg Stepko has already received a license for the Olympic Games, and Petro will have a chance to receive one in April," the Secretary General of the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation added.