Baku, Azerbaijan, May 14
This year’s European Championships’ season was opened last month by the city of Szczecin (POL) which hosted the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships from 10 to 14 April, Trend reports citing President of the European Union of Gymnastics (UEG) Dr. Farid Gayibov.
“We were very pleased to have the Europeans back in Poland, 50 years after the last Europeans in 1969. I would like to express my gratitude to the Polish Gymnastics Federation, the Local Organising Committee and our partners for the joint efforts directed to the successful delivery of this competition. In Szczecin, we presented a real-life version of our mascot Luigi for the first time. His enthusiastic, and sometimes naughty, behaviour got big smiles from gymnasts and fans. It also served as the last qualifying competition for the 2nd European Games (Minsk / BLR / June 21-30). I was very happy with the performance level of our athletes. Although the competitions went smoothly, there were some difficulties. We will work on these issues to avoid them in future,” he said.
Gayibov noted that the World Cups in the Olympic disciplines concluded their series by now. “I had the opportunity to be present at the final of the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup organised in Baku (AZE) from 26 to 28 April. With the conditions provided for the event, the organisers demonstrated that they are ready for the 35th Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships (May 16-19) to be followed by the 11th Aerobic Gymnastics Europeans (May 24-29). We observed this year that the number of participating countries increased significantly in our Olympic disciplines. For the first time, we had 18 participating countries in the Acrobatic Gymnastics World Cup held in Puurs (BEL) in April. It shows that non-Olympic disciplines are also developing. This is great news before the year’s major event, the European Championships in this discipline to be held in Holon at the end of October.”
He went on to add that the 2nd European Games Test Events in all gymnastics disciplines were successfully organised in Minsk last month. “The facts show that 2 months before the competitions, Belarus is ready to host the participants of the Games.”
“At the end of April, I set out for St. Petersburg (RUS) to take part in the FIG Executive Committee meeting followed by the meetings of the FIG Council on May 2 & 3. One of the most beautiful cities of the world, where we previously had Executive and Council meetings, again friendly opened its doors to us. Inspired by the great hospitable atmosphere, we commenced our discussions and very important decisions were made at the Council meeting. Along with the allocation of FIG events and meetings, issuing specific handbooks containing all rules for each discipline, the Qualification system for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games was approved. And a new format of the World Championships in Rhythmic and Artistic Gymnastics, coming into force from 2021 and 2022 respectively, was introduced. This format implies qualification for the World Championships through the continental ones. The new introduction offering limited number of participants will reduce the number of Worlds’ event days from 15 to 11 days in Artistic Gymnastics, while, in Rhythmic Gymnastics, we will save 2 days (5 instead of 7),” said Gayibov.
UEG president noted that thus, the continental Championships will enter into a new phase of its progress and will be more attractive to the audience, media, TV, sponsors and other stakeholders.
“A few days later, the FIG President was elected as a member of ASOIF’s Council. I would like to congratulate Mr. Morinari Watanabe and the gymnastics community with this great news. Coming back to our events, I am sure that our athletes in Rhythmic & Aerobic Gymnastics will be influenced by the AeroRhythm beat competing on one and the same Field of Play in the coming weeks and will demonstrate confident performances which will make gymnastics fans proud and happy,” he concluded.