Author: Sanan SHAFIZADEH
The Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation (AGF) opened the season of international competitions of 2018. The first tournament of this season was the World Cup held at the National Gymnastics Arena.
Yusif Mammadaliyev, head of the Department for Youth Policy and Sport under the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan, welcomed the participants of the competition at the opening ceremony of the tournament and said that Azerbaijani athletes had an opportunity to train in the world-class arenas. Local athletes successfully participate in various international competitions, while Azerbaijan hosts many prestigious tournaments. This is the result of successful state policy focused on sports and the youth. Prestigious competitions held under the leadership of the First Vice-President of Azerbaijan, Mehriban Aliyeva, contribute to the promotion of sport. Thanks to her efforts, gymnastics is developing so well in Azerbaijan. She has previously served as the head of the national Gymnastics Federation (AGF). The first place awarded to AGF by the International Gymnastic Federation in 2017, the representation of the federation in the highest bodies of international gymnastic organizations are the result of the worldwide recognition of these merits.
Mr. Mammadaliyev underlined that he National Gymnastics Arena has been hosting the World Cup in artistic gymnastics for the third time.
Then, 12-year-old Fidan Huseynzade, who is included in the Golden Book of young talents, and other athletes performed the national anthem of Azerbaijan. One of the significant moments of the artistic part of the opening ceremony was the unification of national teams in various kinds of gymnastics under the slogan "Gymnastics is the voice of the future". By promoting healthy life style of the younger generation, the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation once again appealed to the participants of the competition with this show program. During the grand opening ceremony, five- and six-year-old athletes from various clubs representing six different kinds of gymnastics made their first appearance on the big arena.
As for the competition, which gathered 102 athletes from 25 countries, a Japanese gymnast Kazuma won the gold medal of the World Cup in floor exercises with 14.233 points. The silver medalist was Ukrainian Vladimir Gribuk (14.200), and bronze went to Rok Klarov from Slovenia (14.000).
Azerbaijani athletes were also represented in most finals, demonstrating high performances. Azerbaijani gymnast Marina Nekrasova won the silver medal of the World Cup in artistic gymnastics. She lost only to the legendary Oksana Chusovitina. The first was the Uzbek gymnast with 14.300 points, while Slovakian athlete Tisa Kisselef took the third place (13.833).
In the men's competition on the rings, the Greek athlete Eleftherios Petrunas became the winner of the World Cup with 15.333 points. The Turkish representative, Ibrahim Colak, finished the tournament second (15.100), and the Chinese Sinyu Lian was the third (14.866).
In the women's competition on uneven bars, the best performer was the Chinese athlete Sziagi Liu (14.833). Another Chinese athlete, Juan Luo, won a silver medal (14,433), the third was the Ukrainian Yana Fedorova (13,033). Maria Smirnova and Marina Nekrasova from Azerbaijan took the 7th and 8th places, respectively.
The gold medalist of the World Cup on parallel bars was a Japanese gymnast Kenta Chiba (14.999). The Belarusian Andrei Likhovitsky (14.666) was the second, Farhad Arican from Turkey became the third (14.366).
In the base jump, Pavel Bulauski (14.283), an athlete from Belarus, outstripped all his rivals. The Philippino athlete Carlos Adriel Julo was the second (14.183), Georgian athlete Konstantin Kuzovkov was the third (14.133).
The Chinese gymnast Hao Weng had no equals on the horse (15.100). The second was the athlete from Taipei, Shih Kai Li (14.766). The third place was taken by the Japanese Taaki Sugino (14.633). On the cross, the Dutch athlete Bart Deurlo (14,700) was the first. Belarusian Andrei Likhovitsky was the second with 14.200 points. Bronze medalist was Anton Kovacevic from Croatia (14.166).
In his interview with R+, one of the winners of the World Cup, Turkish gymnast Farhad Arican, noted the high level of the organization of the competition: "I enjoy every performance in Azerbaijan. I really love the Azerbaijani people. I thank the fans for their support. I am very glad that I am in this country. I am satisfied with my performance. In general, I am lucky at competitions in Baku. And this time, too, I will return to my homeland with a medal. I thank the organizers for excellent conditions for athletes from all countries."
"The wonderful organization of the World Cup in artistic gymnastics in Baku helped me win a gold medal. I showed the best result at the most crucial stage. The high level of the organization had a positive impact on our performances. Fans showed a high cultural level, supporting all athletes. Therefore, I leave your city with wonderful impressions," said Japan's World Cup winner in free exercises, Kazuma Kaya.
After the World Cup in artistic gymnastics, Baku will host another prestigious competition. For the first time in 2018, AGF organizes the European Championship on trampoline, double mini-trampoline and acrobatic track on April 12-15. In the 26th championship of the continent, which will take place in the National Gymnastics Arena, more than 400 athletes from 25 countries are expected to participate. The tournament will last four days and cover competitions in four types including individual jumps on trampoline, synchronous trampoline, tambling and double mini trampoline. At the European Championships in Baku, young gymnasts will be able to qualify for the Olympic Games among young in 2018, and adults - for the European Games-2019.