By Amina Nazarli
President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva received President of the International Gymnastics Federation Morinari Watanabe and Secretary General André Gueisbuhler on May 2.
Speaking at the event, President Aliyev stressed that the World Cup competitions in Rhythmic Gymnastics in Baku were very successful.
Ilham Aliyev said that Azerbaijan held the World and European championships in gymnastics and other representative events at a high level.
The head of state stressed that Azerbaijan gives great attention to the development of sport in the country and the enthusiasm of young generation to sport is growing day by day.
President Aliyev noted that large-scale creative work is being carried out in the capital and other regions, underlining the construction of the most modern sports infrastructure, including the beautiful gymnastic sports palace.
He said that huge development processes ongoing in Azerbaijan in recent years make a deep impression.
In turn, President of the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation Mehriban Aliyeva said she is proud to be in charge of the Gymnastics Federation in Azerbaijan and especially the successes achieved in this field.
She noted that when the foundation of the development of gymnastics was laid in Azerbaijan, this sport was not so popular.
“Now gymnastics attract great interest, in particular, a large number of girls want to engage in this sport and participate in competitions. This is a very great achievement, and we are proud of it,” she said.
During the meeting Watanabe thanked President Aliyev and AGF President Mehriban Aliyeva for the successful holding of the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup competitions in Baku and, in general, for the support of this sport.
FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup was held in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku on April 28-30 with participation of 94 strongest gymnasts from 21 countries throughout the world.
President of FIG also expressed his hope that Azerbaijani gymnasts will achieve success at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Secretary General of the International Gymnastics Federation Andre Gueisbuhler noted that Azerbaijan has achieved incredible successes in the field of sports, and development of the country as a whole.
Earlier in May 1, Watanabe received an honorary doctorate from Azerbaijan State Academy of Physical Culture and Sport.
Rector of the university Fuad Hajiyev hailing Watanabe’s role in developing and promoting gymnastics in the world presented an honorary doctor’s diploma and gown to the FIG president.
Watanabe said he is honored to receive a doctorate from Azerbaijan State Physical Culture and Sports Academy. He praised what has been done to develop gymnastics in Azerbaijan, hailing a special role of First Vice-President of the country, President of the National Gymnastics Federation Mehriban Aliyeva.
Speaking to reporters on the same day, the President of FIG wishes success to Farid Gaibov, secretary general of the AGF, in the upcoming elections of the European Union of Gymnastics (UEG) president.
Gaibov has done a lot for the development of gymnastics not only in Azerbaijan, but also on the continent, said Watanabe.
He further praised the development of gymnastics in Azerbaijan. “The Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation has extensive experience in organizing competitions,” he said, adding World Cups are annually held in the country and each time there are certain innovations.
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