President of the European Union of Gymnastics (UEG) Georges Guelzec has welcomed the results of the inspection of an arena for the Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships and European Games in the Azerbaijani capital Baku.
"I've been in Baku for three days," Guelzec said. "The main purpose of my visit is to see the arena, which will host the Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships, as well as gymnastics competitions...and trampoline jumping, in the framework of the European Games. We have met with representatives of the organizing committee of the Games, held meetings at the National Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan."
According to Guelzec, non-specialized facilities are leased for major competitions.
"Everything here is conceived for the convenience of gymnasts. Also, the (Olympic) village is located very well, right next to the hall. The pace and quality of the work have amazed me. I am sure that after Baku it will be very difficult to conduct both the European championships and European Games. I've been to Azerbaijan during the EURO and the progress in the organization of the tournament amazes me every time," Guelzec said.
Guelzec also said UEG is seeking to include two non-Olympic sports, aerobics and acrobatics, in the gymnastics program of the Games, but the final say is up to the organizing committee of the Games and the European Olympic Committees.
"Moreover, the number of athletes should not exceed 442," Guelzec said.
According to Guelzec, the Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships to be held next year will be a license tournament for the European Games and he believes that Azerbaijan can also hold the European championships in artistic gymnastics.
"So far, Azerbaijan has hosted the championship in rhythmic gymnastics, but your country may also bid for the 'sport' EURO. There are all the conditions available for this," he said.
The first European Games will be held in Baku June 12-28, 2015. The construction of an Olympic stadium in Baku will be completed by late February 2015. Moreover, Olympic Village occupying space of 382,397 square meters will be available at the European Games in Baku's Nizami district close to the main facilities intended for holding the Games -- the Olympic Stadium, Water Sports Center, the gymnastics complex and the airport.
Azerbaijan is also bidding to host the European Football Championship in 2020, and the Olympic stadium as well as the overhauled stadium named after Tofig Bahramov will be capable to host the tournament.