Baku, Azerbaijan, July 6
The first ever European Games were truly a great success for our gymnasts, said Vice-President of Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation Altay Hasanov in an interview with AZERTAC.
"Despite biased refereeing, gymnasts managed to contribute to the overall victory. Our gymnasts won 7 medals in the Games and this is an outstanding success," Hasanov said.
He noted that the assessment of artistic gymnastics performance depends on subjective judgement of referees, and each referee has an individual approach to performances so the assessment is not always objective.
"We have faced this for many years," Hasanov said.
He added that Azerbaijan pays special attention to the development of all sports, including gymnastics.
"We are very strong competitors, therefore sometimes our opponents create artificial obstacles," he said. "It is in particular felt in referees' biased assessments. We faced this in the first attempt. Our team got low points despite good performance in the rhythmic gymnastics team event. Other teams received higher points to close our way to final."
"Then our federation decided that this injustice should be dealt with. It is time to put an end to it because we have been facing it for several years," he said. " This time we prepared for the Games in the best manner. However, the judges did their jobs again and I was forced to protest on behalf of the Federation."
Hasanov added that it has discouraged some athletes and they failed to put up good performance in their second attempt.
"Therefore considering all this we focused on the individual competition and began serious preparations with gymnast Marina Durunda. Her trainings went well. Marina was also psychologically affected by injustice but we succeeded to overcome the psychological tension and she successfully performed to win a silver medal, hugely supported by the home crowd."
Hasanov further hailed the development of gymnastics in Azerbaijan.
"Indeed, the development of gymnastics in the country started in 2002 after the First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva was elected president of Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation. National Gymnastics Arena was built and opened in 2014 in accordance with instructions of the Azerbaijani president. This magnificent sports facility is unique in Europe. In addition, state-of-the-art sports complexes have been built in the regions through government support."
The vice-president of the Gymnastics Federation also applauded the role of AZERTAC as the official media partner of the inaugural European Games.
"AZERTAC really made an outstanding contribution to the promotion of the Games and played an immense role in ensuring the extensive coverage of the event. AZERTAC was always in the lead of the media. In particular, we eyewitnessed high professionalism of AZERTAC in terms of coverage of the Games. Thank you very much for having coped with this important and responsible task. I would like to express my special gratitude to AZERTAC for its work," Hasanov added.