Author: Sanan SHAFIZADEH
The names of athletes who won licenses for the 2018 Youth Olympics scheduled for October 16-18 in Buenos Aires have become known at the qualifying gymnastics tournament held in Baku.
52 male (16-17 year old) and 44 female (15 year old) athletes from 32 countries competed in Baku to get licences to the most prestigious tournament. Samira Gahramanova, Aghamurad Gahramanov, and Samad Mammadli represented Azerbaijan.
According to the rules, only one athlete from each country from among those who took the first 17 places can go to Buenos Aires in the all-around competition. With 77.931 points in the all-around competition, a representative of Azerbaijan, Samed Mammadli, took the 7th place. The young athlete pleased his coaches with his masterful performance of the most difficult exercises. Aghamurad Gahramanov demonstrated similar performance and had almost the same number of points (74.032) in exercises on six apparatus finishing in the 21st place.
In qualifying competitions among female gymnasts, Samira Gahramanova became the 28th with 43.665 points.
According to preliminary calculations, Samed Mammadli qualified for the youth Olympics from Azerbaijan. However, official confirmation from the International Gymnastics Federation about the holders of licenses is expected only in the early days of July.
After the tournament, Samad Mammadli shared his impressions with R+. “It's always great to perform at home but it also means huge responsibility. I want to thank all who supported us. Their support gives us additional strength. Naturally, there was a certain degree of anxiousness. But thanks to our coaches, we were well prepared. The competition was a difficult one because the strongest athletes competed in Baku. I appreciate the support of the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation and the coaching staff for supporting me. I tried to do my best to achieve a high result. In the future, I intend to work on myself even more,” Mammadli said.
Spanish gymnast Alba Petisco shares the opinion of his counterpart from Azerbaijan. “Impressions are the best. Excellent conditions were created for the competition. It was a strong competition indeed,” said the Spanish athlete in his interview with R+.
He is satisfied with his performance and hopes to get qualified for the Youth Olympic Games: “In general, it was successful. Although there were some errors on different apparatus, they did not influence the result. I hope to succeed in Buenos Aires.”
Russian gymnast Yuri Busse completed the tournament with the same hopes. “You have a beautiful arena and very high quality equipment. I can confirm that the road of young athletes to Buenos Aires starts in Baku. In recent months, I've been thinking only about competitions in Baku. I focused all my efforts on successful performance in this tournament. I hope my name will be among those who win the licenses,” Yuri said in his interview.
The upcoming Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires are scheduled for October 2018 and will be the third in a row. They first took place in 2010 in Singapore, and then in China. Athletes competed in approximately 20 kinds of sports. It is the first time that Azerbaijan will be represented by athletes in artistic gymnastics. In general, the Youth Olympic Games will award medals for 5 kinds of gymnastics. Azerbaijan has already won a license to compete in rhythmic gymnastics.