Baku, Azerbaijan, March 9
The preparation for the European Games began with impressive success of the Open Joint Azerbaijan Championships in Gymnastics Disciplines held in Baku for three days (March 4-6).
In general, some 131 gymnasts from 22 countries took part in all six disciplines in Baku's impressive National Gymnastics Arena. Azerbaijan and Russia claimed the top places in the rhythmic and artistic gymnastics.
The championship was held in the National Gymnastics Arena - a new purpose-built building with 6,800 seats. This is also the "house" of the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation. The facility is a few minutes walk from the sports village, built for the European Games. It was officially opened by the president and first lady of Azerbaijan in April 2014.
"The open test competition during the preparation for the Baku European Games was a wonderful event," Pierce O'Callaghan, director of sport at Baku European Games in 2015, said. "This was the perfect preparation for the Summer Games."
"We had six disciplines, as well as more than 130 athletes competing during a very short period of time," he said. "Organizing and their performances were excellent. The test competition was successful. This encourages us to continue working hard to be ready for the Games. "
"We congratulate the gymnasts who entered the top three and look forward to their return here again in June," he said. "We also congratulate the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation and its athletes in connection with the great success of this event."
"This event testifies to the upcoming exciting competition in rhythmic gymnastics at the first European Games," rhythmic gymnastics," President of the European Union of Gymnastics (UEG) Georges Guelzec said. "I am confident that with the support of the European Union of Gymnastics and the Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation we will hold a competition that will delight and entertain the athletes and spectators in Baku this summer in the same way as we did during the Open Joint Azerbaijan Championships in Gymnastics Disciplines. It was successful. This championship also introduced a new competition format. The various gymnastic disciplines are combined in one tournament one after another."
In the final of all-around competitions among men, the favorite gymnast of the host country (Azerbaijan) Oleg Stepko won a gold medal, while his teammate Petro Pakhnyuk won a silver medal.
In the women's competitions, Kristina Pravdina from Azerbaijan claimed first place after Tutya Yilmaz (Turkey) fell during the final competitions. Her teammate Demet Mutlu won a bronze medal.
Yana Kudryavtseva, 2014 world champion from Russia was the star of the individual all-around competitions. She held a convincing lead over her rivals in the first four rotations. Marina Durunda from Azerbaijan became the strongest rival of Russian gymnast leaders and took second, while the local gymnast Gulsum Shafizade won the bronze medal.
Russia's result in the group all-around competitions was no less convincing. Russian team was in the lead from its first performance with ribbons. Sensual and graceful musical interpretation of the French team and flawless performance allowed it to easily win a silver medal, leaving two Azerbaijani teams to compete for the bronze medal. As a result, the difference between the third and the fourth places was only 0.001 points.
Three teams were competing in the acrobatic tournament in mixed doubles and group competitions among women. The mixed double from Bulgaria left behind the Azerbaijani acrobats in the final of combined competitions, while German acrobats became the third.
Spain's Sara Moreno and Vicente Lli Lloris left behind Romania's Lavinia Panaete and Dacian Barna in the mixed pairs qualification. By taking the first place, Azerbaijan was more than three points behind the leading two. In the team event, Romania finished first, Spain took the second place and Azerbaijan became the third.
The United States, Azerbaijan and Portugal dominated the top spots in both the men's and women's individual competitions as well as the synchronized events.
Edited by CN