Baku, Azerbaijan, June 21
Relentless work, talented athletes and coaches, support from Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation and personally by the federation's president Mehriban Aliyeva, provided the excellent performance of Azerbaijani gymnasts at the First European Games in Baku, Altay Hasanov, vice president of Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation, told Trend.
"We had strong self confidence and this happened," said Hasanov. "There is a great competition in rhythmic gymnastics. We could finally achieve what we deserved."
With regards to fans' reaction to the biased refereeing with respect to the Azerbaijani gymnasts, he stressed that gymnastics is a subjective sport and refereeing is of considerable importance here.
Mistakes in refereeing break down and impede the performance of athletes, the federation's vice president believes.
The fans booed the President of UEG Rhythmic Gymnastics Technical Committee Heide Bruneder for giving low points to Azerbaijani gymnast Marina Durunda after the hoop exercises in rhythmic gymnastics June 21.
Altay Hasanov said approaches to the gymnastics have changed in Azerbaijan over the years and spectators began to understand this sport more.
"Even more fans now come to the competitions and better understand gymnastics, especially, the rhythmic gymnastics," he said. "The fans now understand when the judges are biased and express protest. This is natural and it happens in every part of the world."
Hasanov said the silver medal won by Marina Durunda in the rhythmic gymnastics is equal to the gold medal.
"Russian gymnasts are the strongest ones in the world. Therefore, the silver medal is equal to the gold medal for us," he said. "We are very glad that finally, we achieved this today."
Altay Hasanov also thanked Trend news agency for covering the gymnastics events held as part of the First European Games in Baku.
"Thanks to Trend, which is always with us. I congratulate all of us with the deserved victory," he said.