Azerbaijan, where the gymnastics is growing with fantastic rate in recent years, has already become home for many significant international tournaments.

Now the capital is prepared to host another grandiose competition between February 19-21 -- the World Challenge Cup in Artistic Gymnastics, the biggest ever gymnastics event to be staged in Baku.

This event promises to be the most exciting and special, since the country will host such kind of tournament for the first time in the history of the national gymnastics.

Moreover, the fact that it will be held both among men and women athletes attaches greater importance to the contest.

Compared to other similar competitions, this major FIG event will bring together the world's very best gymnasts for three days of top-class competition.

The City of Winds is delighted to welcome 146 elite gymnasts within the delegations representing 19 countries, some of whom will take center stage in Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.

Being held at the National Gymnastics Arena, which hosted six gymnastics disciplines during the 1st European Games last summer, the competition will include 46 men and 22 women athletes to contend for medals.

Azerbaijani fans will be certainly delighted with the performances of national athletes Oleg Stepko, Petro Pakhnyuk, Kristina Pravdina, Marina Nekrasova, Yuliya Inshina and Mariia Smirnova.

Meanwhile, Baku hosted the meeting of heads and representatives of the delegations which have arrived in the country for the FIG World Challenge Cup on February 18.

Addressing the meeting, Vice President of Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation Altay Hasanov greeted members of the delegations and held a roll-call of the countries, wishing them success.

In his welcoming speech, Hasanov noted that it is the first major competition in artistic gymnastics in Baku, since prior to this, the city hosted big events in rhythmic gymnastics.

President of the FIG Technical Committee in Women's Artistic Gymnastics Nellie Kim, and a member of the FIG Technical Committee for Men's Artistic Gymnastics Holger Albrecht, in turn, noted that the preparations for the competitions are at a high level.

Nellie Kim said from 2017, the World Cup stages in artistic gymnastics will be qualifying for the Olympic Games and Baku can be one of the host cities, since all conditions and facilities here meet Olympic standards.

Vice President of Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation told Trend that it is a very serious Cup in terms of the status, adding that in the Olympic cycle, it is held only in three countries in the world: UK, Japan and Azerbaijan.

"We deserved it, because Azerbaijani gymnasts began to achieve success in Artistic Gymnastics. We have long been at the top in Rhythmic Gymnastics and always competed with the strongest teams. We are taking our first steps in Artistic Gymnastics and as you see, these steps have been quite successful: they recognized us and came here," the vice-president said.

He noted that therefore, as usual, Azerbaijan is expected to hold the competitions at a high level from the organizational point of view.

Hasanov added that today's Orientation Meeting with the heads and representatives of the delegations, which have arrived in Baku for the FIG World Challenge Cup also proved it, so they had practically no questions.

"It also shows that the Federation and the Local Organizing Committee are very well prepared," he said.

Hasanov further said that the Federation expects good performance from the Azerbaijani athletes.

"It is just the beginning of the season. Our most important start at the Olympic Games in Rio is ahead. Holding competitions in Baku is a good factor. Because, it is not always easy for the athletes to perform at home, as it requires high responsibility. Therefore, let them have such a test prior to more important starts, such as the European Championships and Olympic Games," he said.

The AGF vice-president also noted that given the country's experience in hosting major competitions in Rhythmic Gymnastics, holding the World Challenge Cup in Artistic Gymnastics in Baku could bring great benefits.

"We gain experience, our athletes compete with the world's leading gymnasts who come to Baku with great pleasure. It has long been no secret that Baku is turning into a kind of sports capital of the region, since the city hosts competitions and meets guests at a very good level," Hasanov said.

He voiced belief that all guests leave the country satisfied.

AGF vice-president further expressed his confidence that the athletes and representatives of delegations, who have arrived in Baku, will leave the country, with positive emotions as always.

World cup is an important event in the world gymnastics, thus the FIG will send to Baku its representative - member of the Technical Committee in Men's Artistic Gymnastics from Germany, Holger Albrecht, who follows the course of the events with German precision and controls the objectivity of judges in this subjective sports discipline.

The Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation was acknowledged to be the best federation and the iconic 9,000-seat National Gymnastics Arena, designed to host all gymnastics disciplines declared the best Arena by the Azerbaijan Youth and Sports Ministry in the country last year.

Designed to host all gymnastics disciplines, National Gymnastics Arena opened in 2014, is now able to host gymnasts' training for international tournaments.

Today, Women's Artistic Gymnastics is at a stage of development in our country, and the opening of new gymnastic section in this sport, as well as a massive interest in it prove that the Federation is on the right track.

Source: Azer News