US athletes impressed by National Gymnastics Arena in Baku (PHOTO)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 19
By Jani Babayeva - Trend:
American gymnasts Evita Griskenas, Camilla Feeley and Laura Zeng, who are performing at the 37th Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships, are impressed by the National Gymnastics Arena in Baku, the athletes told Trend.
“I was in Baku at the World Cup in 2017. Now I have returned, and it feels like everything is new. Great decorations, a beautiful hall. There are many spectators, and they show active support. It is nice that there are fans from the US. I am familiar with the gymnastics arena, but the hall has been refurbished for the World Championships in such a way that it feels like you have entered a fairy tale,” Griskenas said.
According to her, the fact that the participants compete for obtaining licenses for participation in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo does not worry her, and she is trying to perform the program to the best of her abilities.
“I know what the coach expects of me and try to do it,” Griskenas added.
Camilla Feeley was pleased with her performance during the fourth day of the competition.
“There were some drawbacks, but overall everything went well. Before the World Championships I was at competitions in Baku three times. Things are perfectly organized as always, there are lots of mats, a place for training, a clear schedule. There are lots of spectators from Azerbaijan and fans from the US in the hall to support us. It is exciting when you are supported by so many spectators," Feeley said.
Laura Zeng also noted that she was exciting by the way the Azerbaijani public cheered for the gymnasts.
"It was very pleasant to perform in front of the Azerbaijani audience. The audience inspired me and charged me with positive energy. I have already been to competitions in Baku, I like to come here. The city is beautiful, and the gymnastics arena is incredible, there is lots of space and light," Zeng added.
The 37th Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships will last until Sept. 22.
The Championships is the qualification competition for the Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo in 2020. As such, the first 16 individual gymnasts (max. two gymnasts per country) in the all-around ranking will qualify for the Games.
As for the gymnasts within group exercises, Bulgaria, Russia and Italy have already qualified according to the results of the last World Championships. At this year’s Championships, the best five teams will qualify for the Tokyo-2020 Olympic Games according to the all-around scores.
More than 300 gymnasts from 61 countries are competing for nine sets of medals. “Fairy Tales will come to life" is the motto of the championships.
Nine gymnasts are representing Azerbaijan at the World Championship, which is being held at the National Gymnastics Arena. Zohra Agamirova, Veronika Hudis, Yelyzaveta Luzan and Maryam Safarova perform in individual competitions. Ayshan Bayramova, Diana Ahmadbayli, Aliya Pashayeva, Zeynab Hummatova and Darya Sorokina participate in group exercises as part of the Azerbaijani team.