Azerbaijan, Baku / corr Тrend I. Shekinski / The European Callisthenic Championship will be for first time held in Baku in 3 months. The final data about the number of the participants was released on 30 March. Gymnasts from 33 countries will be contest in the Azerbaijani capital..
The European delegations for the Championship will visit Baku on 26 June. The gymnasts will demonstrate their skills at the Heydar Aliyev Sports and Entertainment Complex from 29 June to 1 July.
Six sets of medals will be won in individual, group, and team tournaments. The 23rd Championship, which is remarkable for its coincidence to the 25th anniversary of the European Gymnastics Union, will be a show of the best gymnasts on the eve of the World Championship scheduled for September. The World Championship will qualify the gymnasts for Beijing Olympic 2008.
The first European Gymnastics Forum was held in Madrid in 1978. A Soviet gymnast Galima Shugurova got the absolute championship. The present European Champion is a Russian gymnast, Vera Sesina.
Favorites for the golden medal of the Baku tournament are Russia and Ukraine, Belarus and Bulgaria, Greece and Spain. Azerbaijan will also take part in the contest. Three gymnasts and one reserve gymnast with an individual program and a junior team with a group performance will represent Azerbaijan.
Ancient rock carvings of the Gobustan (historical site of Azerbaijan) illustrating various spheres of human life will attach a peculiar national coloring and create a unique atmosphere for the tournament.
During the forthcoming summer days Baku will become not only the place for European Championship but also the city of contest for the licensed world championship that is to take place in Greece.
Thus, the members of the Technical Committee of the International federation will define the consequence of the performances at the World Championship-2007 on 30 June. The Committee will hold a meeting in Baku after the European Championship and discuss the latest innovations on 2-6 July.
Twenty-two European Championships have been held so far. The first championship in Madrid was followed by tournaments in Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Stavanger (Norway), Vienna (Austria), Florence (Italy), Helsinki (Finland), Heteburg (Sweden), Stuttgart (Germany), Bucharest (Romania), Salonika (Greece), Prague (Czech Republic), Asker (Norway), Patres (Greece), Porto (Portugal), Budapest (Hungary), Saragossa (Spain), Geneva (Switzerland), Granada (Spain), Riza (Germany), Kiev (Ukraine), and twice in Moscow (Russia).