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08 February 2012

Upon completion of the event with a participation of junior gymnasts of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia and Kazakhstan, the representatives of invited countries shared their Baku impressions in their interviews.
The Secretary General of Gymnastics Federation of Georgia, Pikria Pankvelashvili said that gymnasts of her country had been coming to Baku to participate in the competitions among both junior and senior gymnasts for the last years.
“Every year, we observe how the level of rhythmic gymnastics is appreciably growing in Azerbaijan. We have close and warm relations with your national team’s head coach Mariana Vasileva. And we are very glad that an Azerbaijani gymnast Aliya Garayeva will compete for high places at the Olympiad again as it was 4 years ago in Beijing.”
“How do you assess the performances of your gymnasts?”
“We are here in Baku with three sportswomen and all of them were born in 1998. As you probably know, 14-year-old gymnasts will also participate in the European Championships to be held in Nizhny Novgorod in early summer.”
“And who has justified your expectations?”
“Sofia Farulava has demonstrated more successful performance. She won the bronze medal in the all-around, as well as with a ribbon, and became the silver medalist with a hoop. We are very glad with it as a rivalry with you gymnasts was tense.”
“And who has made more impression on you from Azerbaijani juniors?”
“If I am not mistaken, her name is Mansura Bagiyeva. She is nice gymnast! She is graceful, artistic, and simply clever girl! I already noticed her at the Euro-2011 in Minsk last year where she became the bronze medalist in the composition of a junior group team. And a couple of complimentary words to the address of Gulsum Shafizada who seems to be “a gymnast of principal.”
At the competitions, Turkey was represented by the club from Ankara led by its head coach Figen Altay.
“Strangely enough but it is our first visit to Baku and we are simply astonished by excellent organization of the event. Unfortunately, we failed to arrive in Azerbaijan in time due to bad weather conditions and our gymnasts appeared on the floor on the arrival day – off the boat and into the party.”
“How do you assess your gymnasts’ performances?”
“We have participated in the tournament with six sportswomen from which Simay Akin (born in 2002) won the 3rd place in an exercise without apparatus and another gymnast Selen Bektash (2001) became the silver medalist with a ball. I hope we will come to Azerbaijan to take part in the tournament or training camp with great pleasure in future as well because everything was organized at the highest level here.”
“What can you say about the level of Azerbaijani gymnastics?”
“I can say that it is progressing from year to year. Your gymnasts are constantly in public view. They successfully perform in the world and won awards. This is already axiomatic. Aliya Garayeva is included into the world sports’ elite, there is a new generation growing. And the Olympiad is approaching and I would like to wish you successes. As we are one nation – two different states, we always have to feel each other’s support!”
“This year, Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation is celebrating its 10th Anniversary…”
“Then, please, accept by most sincere congratulations to the address of the Federations’ leadership, all the specialists, sportsmen and gymnastics community in this connection! I wish you to achieve more successes in the coming years, Inshallah!”
“Have you had time to see the sights of Baku?”
“Only 2 hours and on the departure day! Unfortunately, we failed to admire the beauty of Baku properly due to bad weather conditions. So, we had to look round the city through the bus window.”
Finally, opinion of a coach-choreographer Veronika Zolotaryova, the representative of Kazakhstan.
“We liked the hospitality extended to our delegation very much. Believe us, we have been given such a reception nowhere, the girls were literally showered with presents.”
“How did the competitions go off for your gymnasts?”
“In spite of the participants’ very young age, the competitions themselves went off in tense struggle for medals. The more successful performance was demonstrated by Aruzhan Alpamishova (born in 2004) taken the 9th place.”
“And what can you say about your rivals?”
“I can say that your gymnasts were a bit too prepared for the competitions (she is laughing). Frankly speaking, we did not come to Baku for the prize-winning places. We have to gain a competitive experience, to take part in such events and training camps.”
“Is it true that your gymnasts are the representatives of the school of a well-known gymnast Aliya Yusupova who finished her career recently?”
“Yes. It is true. And we are very proud of it. In her time Yusupova put Kazakhstan into new level in gymnastics which is now kept by a gymnast Anna Alyabyeva. So, there is a succession and I hope it will always be.”
“Did you like being in Baku?”
“Yes, we liked it very much. We have never been here before, and we spent 4 days here. And despite the bad weather conditions, we could admire the capital. Coastal Park, Icheri Shahar (Inner City), Flag Square, city center – all this places made an indelible impression on us. We wish great victories to Azerbaijani gymnasts and further prosperity to you country.”