Sport begins üith gymnastics

Rhythmic Gymnastics

Being both an art and a sport, gymnastics includes two competition categories: individual competition and group competition. Each group consists of five people and one reserve gymnast who should participate in one of the two exercises. This is a feminine sport where all exercises are performed to music at a special rhythmic gymnastics floor with a dimension of 13x13 meters.

Rhythmic Gymnastics includes five apparatus: a hoop, a ball, clubs, a ribbon and a rope. Following existing rules, senior gymnasts perform with all these apparatus except rope. Juniors alternate these apparatus each two years. During competitions, individual gymnast should perform four exercises with four apparatus. Group performs two exercises – first one should feature five identical apparatus, the other one have to be performed with two different apparatus (three gymnasts with the same apparatus, and two gymnasts with another). All-around is Olympic discipline (a total score of four exercises is summed up for individual gymnasts; groups should perform two exercises).
Hoop Ball Clubs Ribbon Rope
The hoop is made of plastic or polyethylene. The diameter of the hoop is 70-90 cm (depending on the height of gymnast). This apparatus can be self-colored or multicolored; many gymnasts decorate them with a colored tape (usually in the color of the leotard). The ball is made of rubber or synthetic material, which has the same elasticity as rubber. Weighing 400g and with a diameter of 18-20 cm, the ball can be of any color and should lie down the palm so that the gymnast can comfortably keep it. The clubs are made of plastic or rubber. The length of the clubs is 40-50 cm, while weight is 150g per each. This apparatus can be self-colored or multicolored; many gymnasts decorate them with a colored tape. In recent years, it is allowed to use clubs with velvet handles, so they do not slip out of hands. Only performances with two clubs are allowed. The ribbon consists of a stick and ribbon itself. The stick can be cylindrical or conical shaped, made mainly of plastic or plexiglass (previously - of wood). Should be of any color and length of 50-60 cm. The ribbon itself is made of satin. Its length should be 6 m (for seniors) and 5 m (for juniors). The ribbon may be a monochromatic or painted in any color. Stick and ribbon are bonded by a thin metal carabineer. This binding is not reliable; there are cases when it breaks down during the performance. Therefore, most gymnasts attach the ribbon to stick with nylon threads that should be replaced periodically. The gymnastics rope has no handles, instead it is allowed to tie a knot or burn its edges. Similar to ordinary rope, this apparatus is made of hemp or nylon. It can be monotonous or colored, and its length should be proportional to the height of the gymnast. Each Jury (Individuals and Groups) consists of two groups of judges: Difficulty and Execution. Artistic and technical deductions entered separately for the final execution score
Rhythmic Gymnastics in the world

As a sport, Rhythmic Gymnastics began to form in 19th century. French physiologist and teacher Georges Demenÿ (1850-1917) played a significant role in the scientific basis of the physical education of girls. His compatriot François Delsarte (1811-1871) played a major role in the preparation of the expressive movements’ skills theory.

Since 1961, Rhythmic Gymnastics officially joined International Gymnastics Federation (FIG). Two years later Budapest hosted the first World Championship, and in 1984, this sport was included in the program of the Olympic Games.

Rhythmic Gymnastics in Azerbaijan

The history of foundation and development of rhythmic gymnastics in Azerbaijan dates back to the 40th of the last century. A great role in formation of this sports discipline in Azerbaijan has played Nadejda Merkulova who assembled a group of girls for the first time. In 1961, Lina Vinnikova performed in the first rhythmic gymnastics world tournament in Germany in the composition of the USSR national team. It was the first performance of the Azerbaijani gymnasts on the international arena.

A significant revival began to be felt in this sports discipline after First Lady Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva was elected the President of Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation in October 2002. Performing at the 2003 World Championships in Budapest, Azerbaijani gymnast Dinara Gimatova for the first time in the history of the national rhythmic gymnastics qualified for the Olympic Games in Athens 2004. However, serious injury prevented her performance at the Olympics and Anna Gurbanova replaced her.

Aliya Garayeva, Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva, Dinara Gimatova and Anna Gurbanova after 2007 Baku European Championships At the 2008 Olympic Games Azerbaijan was represented by the full composition – two gymnasts performing with the individual program and group participated in the competitions. For the first time in the history of the country Aliya Garayeva became the champion of Europe, performing with a rope at the 2007 European Championships.

Azerbaijani Junior Group (Aelita Khalafova, Nigar Abdusalimova, Kamilla Mammadova, Sabina Abbasova, Yevgeniya Zhidkova, Lala Maharramova), Anna Gurbanova, Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva, Aliya Garayeva and Head Coach Mariana Vasileva after 2009 Baku European Championships Azerbaijani gymnasts have repeatedly won medals at the European and World Championships in the individual, group and team standings. 2014 became a new stage in the development of rhythmic gymnastics in our country. During this period grandiose National Gymnastics Arena was opened and the next European Championships was held. European vice-champions - Diana Doman, Siyana Vasileva, Aliaksandra Platonova, Sabina Abbasova, Aliya Pashayeva and Aynur Mustafayeva Rhythmic gymnastics are developing successfully not only in Baku, but also in Sumgait, Ganja, Nakhchivan, Goychay, Gusar, Shirvan, Kurdamir, Ismayilli and Khirdalan.

Rhythmic gymnastics was also included in the program of the European Games. Following the rules, gymnasts play eight sets of medals – individual gymnasts compete for five sets (individual all-around and apparatus final). Groups compete for three sets - in the all-around events and in the finals with two different compositions.

Interesting facts
  • Today, European and World Championships in Rhythmic Gymnastics are held annually. Until 1992, the World Championships were held in odd years (from 1963 to 1991) and European Championships - in even years (from 1978 to 1992).
  • Some early examples of gymnastics can be found even in the ancient Egyptian artifacts