European Games, most important event for us, gymnasts say

By: Amina Nazarli

Only 42 days left until the first European Games – Baku June 12. The Games are held on the initiative of the European Olympic Committee and will be held every four years. More than 6,000 athletes from 50 countries are expected to arrive in Baku.

Aerobic Gymnastics is one of the four non-Olympic sport, which will be included in the program of the Games. Following the format of the competition, mixed pairs and groups will compete for medals. It is significant that each group consists of five people.

By tradition, the press service of Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation has always talked to athletes before they set off to represent the country in any sporting event. In some ways, they disagreed, but when we were talking about the European Games, they unanimously agreed that it is a very important event for them.

Question: How did you turn to gymnastics? Why did you choose this sport?

Timur Alekperov: I got into the aerobic gymnastics at school by accident, after I argued with a friend that I would engage in this sport and remain there at least for a year. I have won the argument with a large margin.

Vera Bosykh: I was 4 year-old when my parents took me to the gym (rhythmic gymnastics), but my sports career did not develop there. After consulting my parents, I decided to get involved in aerobic gymnastics.

Elchin Mammadov: At first, I was doing acrobatic gymnastics and after retirement, I decided to choose aerobic gymnastics. For me, this sport is very interesting…

Vladimir Dolmatov: It was an accident. On December 15, 2004 I was very bored sitting at home, and because my sister who at the time was training in aerobics I decided to go along with her and join in. I never looked back.

Ekaterina Kotliarova: I got involved in aerobic gymnastics when I was 15-year-old. It was not very popular then. I saw a school advertisement calling on people to join in so I did.

Question: Have you tried other sports? Did you display talent in other disciplines?

T.: I think that if I was to fall in love with other sports – like I did with aerobic gymnastics, then I could.

V.: I probably could not succeed in other sport.

E.: If I had not been involved in aerobic gymnastics, I would have tried my hand at swimming.

V.: I cannot say exactly, but I think I could be a high-class athlete in other sports. It could be in acrobatics or gymnastics, but the choice has been made – I love aerobics!

E.: I think in volleyball.

Question: How do you deal with your emotions during competitions? Do you have any special tricks or techniques to help you stay in control?

T.: I have no secrets, one should be in a good physical form and enter the podium with pleasure. Then there will be no excitement.

V.: When I enter the podium I cease to feel fear and anxiety.

E.: On competitions’ day, I analyze every move and step in my mind. Collecting my thoughts, I reassure myself that everything will be fine.

V.: I just imagine that I’m in training at the moment, and that there is no one in the room besides me and my coach.

E.: I imagine the correct execution of the elements before leaving a podium. I tell myself that everything will turn out ok.

Question: What is the key to success in any sport?

T.: The most important thing is your dedication to it!

V.: It is important to not give up and have purpose.

E.: Discipline is the most important thing. Moreover, one must listen to the coach carefully.

V.: You need a great desire to achieve your goal! Then everything will turn out ok.

E.: you need to strive for victory!

Question: How dangerous is it to be engaged in professional sports, or does it depend on the sport?

T.: Danger is everywhere, even walking can be dangerous. One should approach sport with a his or her health in mind.

V.: Any professional sports is associated with injuries. Each sports has its own features and difficulties.

E.: First of all, during training it is necessary to warm up well. Moreover, if you perform all the movements as the coach says, you can avoid these situations.

V.: Each sport is dangerous in its own way. However, if one approaches the matter with the mind, it can be done without injury.

E.: In any professional sport, there is a risk of injury.

Question: Do you have a sport’s idol?

T.: I do not have an idol. However, there are some athletes, whose success I watch and try to emulate. That helps a lot.

V.: No, I do not.

E.: No, I haven’t.

V.: I do not compare myself to others. I have my own way.

E.: Michael Phelps.

Question: Tell us about your plans for the near future

T.: The most important competition for me now is the European Games.

V.: Preparation for the European Games.

E.: In a month, we expect the European Games, and all of my thoughts are on that.

V.: The plan is to perform at the European Games with dignity.

E.: Now, we are preparing for the European Games, we look forward to this historic event.

Question: What do the European Games mean for you and how do you prepare for them?

T.: A couple of years ago I could not even imagine that I will take part in the Games! The preparation process is very serious, we have to deny ourselves many things, but it is worth it.

V.: It is the most important event.

E.: I am very glad that the first Games will be held in Baku. It is a big responsibility, so training takes place every day.

V.: The Games for me is a chance to prove myself. Being patient, I will give all that I have.

E.: For me the Games are like the Olympics as aerobic gymnastics is not an Olympic sport, but has been included in the program of the Games.

Question: If we move a little bit away from sport – do you have any aspirations or dreams that you want to achieve?

T.: Thanks to the Games, I returned to the sport after a three and a half year break. Now I want to continue training, and then start coaching.

V.: Sure, I have many plans for the future and they are not all related to sports.

E.: Now I am fully engaged in the sport, and I think only about the Games.

V.: I have only one goal now – it is the European Games.

E.: Yes, I have.

Question: Are you able to combine sport with normal life?

T.: Of course, yes!

V.: Unfortunately, not always.

E.: No, I spend almost all my time at training.

V.: No, I can only do on thing. It is impossible to combine.

E.: For me, sport is an ordinary life, it is my work.

Question: Tell us about your family.

T.: My family is not athletic, my mother is an assayer, and my sister is interested in sewing clothes.

V.: I have a wonderful family. I love my parents and I appreciate everything they do. They support me in everything.

E.: My family consists of five members – father, mother, two sisters and me. My father is an engineer, my mother is a homemaker, and my sisters are teachers of English and Azerbaijani languages.

V.: I have a sporting family. My mother and sister are fitness instructors, my father is an instructor at the gym. Only my brother chose technology. He is a programmer, but I am sure that he could become a good athlete.

E.: It is a normal family: mom, dad, one sister and a cat (laughing).

Question: Do you have a loved one?

T.: Unfortunately, or fortunately – no.

E.: It has been a long time, three years ago. Now I have no time for it (laughing).

V.: Yes, I have.

E.: No, I do not

Question: What do your fans usually shout, and what do you want to hear from them?

T.: When I go out on podium, I cannot hear anything but the music.

V.: I am grateful to the small number of fans that I have, so there is absolutely no problem with what they shout. Honestly, when I perform I do not hear anything.

E.: When fans yell from the stands “Elchin, we believe in you!” I am getting more confident.

V.: We need all the support we can get.

E.: I cannot hear what they usually shout, applauses only.

Question: What would you like to tell them?

T.: Many thanks for their support – it is very important.

V.: Thank you for supporting us.

V.: I thank them.

E.: I am very grateful to them for their support.

C.: Thank them for supporting our team and me.

SOURCE: Azer News