TODAY.AZ / Baku-2015

Azerbaijani gymnasts shine at Baku 2015

22 June 2015 [17:20] - TODAY.AZ

/By AzerNews/

By Amina Nazarli

Azerbaijani gymnasts demonstrated brilliant performances during the first European Games, grabbing seven medals from the inaugural Games in Baku.

The gold medal in artistic gymnastics was a real triumph, marking the first gold in the sport in the history of the country.

A total of 22 talented gymnasts represented the country at the gymnastics competitions in five disciplines including acrobatic, aerobic, rhythmic, artistic, and the trampoline.

Oleg Stepko won one gold, two silver and a bronze in artistic gymnastics, while the graceful Marina Durunda took a silver medal in rhythmic gymnastics and Ilya Grishunin became bronze medalist in Gymnastics Artistic Trampoline. Men’s team of Oleg Stepko, Petro Pakhnyuk and Eldar Safarov earned bronze medals in artistic gymnastics.

“We made many efforts to create new team, and just a little over a year ago we started working with Stepko, Pakhnyuk and Safarov. And now you see the result,” said Altay Hasanov, the vice president of Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation.

The countless hours put in by the talented athletes and coaches, resulted in excellent performances by Azerbaijani gymnasts at the Games in Baku, he said. "We had self-confidence and we did it. There is a great rivalry in rhythmic gymnastics. Finally, we could achieve what we deserved."

National winners share joy

Oleg Stepko, 21, won as many as five medals at the Games. Moreover, he also brought to the country the first gold medal for artistic gymnastics in the country’s history.

“I have a feeling of a hero,” Stepko said. “I've a rewarding for all my efforts. It's my job, and I try to do it at the highest level. I am full of emotions, I cannot even give them in words."

He also expressed his confidence that the young people in the country will show interest in these kinds of sports, along with boxing, karate, judo, and wrestling.

“Thanks to the European Games the world knew how successfully this sport is developing in Azerbaijan. Successful performance of our gymnasts will increase interest of our youth to this sport in the country,” Stepko said.

Marina Durunda, 18, who is a silver medalist in rhythmic gymnastics in ribbon exercises, said she dedicated her victory to Azerbaijan.

“I'm very happy because I could bring joy to the whole Azerbaijan with my performance and victory,” she stressed.

Durunda said she did not realize at once that she won a medal.

“I tried to think only of the performance, and when I finished, I was happy, because I did everything I could,” said the gymnast. “Later, when I was sitting and waiting for grades with my coach, I realized I won a medal. I think that’s what I was aspiring to.”

But, the audience attending the gymnastics competition was dissatisfied with biased refereeing against Azerbaijani gymnast Marina Durunda. The audience considered the points scored by the judge to be unfair, why is why they booed Heide Bruneder, the president of the Technical Committee for Women's Artistic Gymnastics, in protest when she presented the medal to the winner.

Gymnastics in Azerbaijan

Gymnastics is gaining popularity in Azerbaijan year by year. More often than before, parents want their children to be engaged in this beautiful and gentle sport, considering that the country has all the necessary conditions and facilities for its development.

Through First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, who also since 2012 has been president of the National Gymnastics Federation, gymnastics in Azerbaijan has entered a new stage in its development.

Thanks to the proliferation of modern gymnastics equipment, thousands of children and teenagers are learning the secrets of this sport.

Designed to host all gymnastics disciplines, the iconic 9,000-seat National Gymnastics Arena opened in 2014, is now able to host gymnasts' training for international tournaments.

A most exciting event, the 30th European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships was held in the arena in 2014. The event received the highest score from experts and managers of the European Gymnastics Union. The World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships will also be held here in 2019.

The federation achieved great success in 2014. Overall, the gymnasts won 114 medals, including 42 gold, 30 silver and 42 bronze last year.

“Great attention is paid to the development of gymnastics in Azerbaijan,” Begonia Simon, a fan from Spain, who has arrived in Baku to watch the Games told Trend.

She added that the National Gymnastics Arena is especially grand, which shows that the country pays a great attention to the development of this sport.

The creation and development of rhythmic gymnastics in the country dates back to the 1940s. The history of origin of non-Olympic sports – trampoline acrobatics and tumbling began in the 1920-30s. As a result of this sport's popularization over a very short period of time, Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation was created in 1956.

Women's Artistic Gymnastics and aerobics are the youngest disciplines in Azerbaijan, developing in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

The curtain was raised on the first European Games in Azerbaijan's capital Baku on June 12.

The Games, which will wrap up on June 28, are hosting 20 sporting events. Of those sports, 16 are Olympic events, while the other four including karate, basketball 3x3, beach soccer and sambo are new sports to this format.

The Baku 2015 European Games, which were devised by the European Olympic Committee in December 2012, feature more than 6,000 athletes from 50 countries.


Print version

Views: 1487

Connect with us. Get latest news and updates.

Recommend news to friend

  • Your name:
  • Your e-mail:
  • Friend's name:
  • Friend's e-mail: