Baku, Azerbaijan, June 13
Rhythmic gymnastics is a favorite sport in Azerbaijan, as it is in the whole world, Azerbaijani Minister of Youth and Sports Azad Rahimov said at the official opening ceremony of the 30th Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships in Baku's national gymnastics arena on June 13.
Rahimov went on to add that gymnastics always gathers big audience.
"After the election of First Lady of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the goodwill ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO, the president of Heydar Aliyev foundation, Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva, as the president of Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation, the interest in rhythmic gymnastics has considerably grown," he said.
Rahimov added that it is already the 3rd time when Baku hosts the Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships.
"We would like to express our gratitude to the leadership of the European Union of Gymnastics for the confidence shown to us," he added. "I can assure you that we will justify it with practical work this time as well."
The minister stressed that the achievements of the athletes have increased.
"All the international events hosted by our country have been held at the high level, thus, turning into a sports festival for everybody," he said. "The fact that the country's President Ilham Aliyev is also the president of the National Olympic Committee also also plays a significant role in success of sports policy in Azerbaijan."
The minister noted that as a result of support and care shown by the state to sports, speedy construction works are being carried out and new sports facilities are being built in the country.
"The magnificent National Gymnastics Arena hosting the 30th European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships today, is a great sports present given to athletes and sports fans by our state. I hope all the athletes and specialists like this facility and it will often host international events in future as well," Rahimov said.
The 30th Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships is being held in the National Gymnastics Arena in Baku.
Some 258 gymnasts from 33 countries compete for nine sets of awards in the tournament that is being held in Baku for the third time. The championship itself will last till June 15.