The First Vice-President, President of the Gymnastics Federation of the country Mehriban Aliyeva plays crucial role in the development of gymnastics in Azerbaijan, Mariana Vasileva, the Head Coach of the Azerbaijani rhythmic gymnastics team said in an interview with Trend.
"No one works as much as and provides as many opportunities for development as Mehriban Aliyeva does. This is an objective reality. All of us can clearly see in comparison what the situation was like 5-10 years ago, and what we have today. Over the years, we have always had support, and what is very important – moral support. We did not come back with medals every time, there were bad days. But we have always felt the support of Mehriban Aliyeva, she has always been with us. I also want to express my gratitude to the Vice-President of the Gymnastics Federation Altay Hasanov, who throughout all these years provided everything necessary for our development," Vasileva said.
The head coach noted that currently rhythmic gymnastics is actively developing both in Baku and in the regions of the country.
"To date, rhythmic gymnastics is developing in 15 districts, regional competitions are held for the third year, there is a big number of gymnasts. According to the report at the end of last year, 1258 gymnasts were training in our regional sections. Today, their number has surely increased, because we have opened sections in three more districts over the year, and the opening of sections in another three districts by the end of the year is expected. So I think that by the end of the year the number of gymnasts in the regions will reach 2500. As for Baku, it is a natural rhythmic gymnastics center in the country. We have several clubs - they prepare gymnasts for the national team. We actively cooperate with all the clubs, we want to develop gymnastics, and we have shown good results," Vasileva said.
"This year, we have achieved good results. Our gymnast Arzu Jalilova took the bronze medal at the European Championship, the group team won the bronze of the European Championship in exercises with three balls and two jump ropes, took fifth place at the World Championship in exercises with rings and seventh place in the all-around competition. In addition, they have won the Challenge Cup, which is a great prestige for us," Vasileva said.
"This year, we have also qualified for participation in the Youth Olympic Games, and in two weeks Yelizaveta Luzan will represent Azerbaijan in Buenos Aires. But it's not just about the results - today our team is at an important stage of its development, and we have a lot of promising gymnasts who are already showing results. Currently, we train 63 girls, and they are already developing in different exercises, and this is the most important thing for me," Vasileva said.
The head coach noted that in the presence of quantity and proper development, quality will also be achieved.
"For example, now we have 23 gymnasts in the Junior group of the national team. For comparison, in 2014, when we hosted the European championship in Baku, we had only two gymnasts in that group. Today, there is a rivalry among gymnasts, and it is well known that rivalry leads to good results, as gymnasts have an incentive to perform better. They compete with each other - it is a healthy competition. Also, we already have the second squad of the group team, which is preparing for its debut in February next year. This happens in our Federation for the first time, and I really want to believe that we will continue to grow and develop like other European countries," Vasileva said.
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