The FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Cup AGF Trophy has kicked off in Baku on March 16, as Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ismayil Ismayilov participated in the opening ceremony.
"I greet the participants joined from different parts of the world to another prestigious competition – the FIG World Cup in Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastics, AGF Trophy organized today in our country.Extending my best wishes to all of you, I am pleased to welcome you here in Azerbaijan," he said at the opening ceremony.
"First of all, I would like to mention that we experienced thrilling events of the FIG World Cup in Trampoline Gymnastics and Tumbling a month ago. Today, we are sharing a festivity of the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Cup and we will get an opportunity to watch the marvellous performances of our gymnasts in this kind of events in Rhythmic Gymnastics again next month," he noted.
Ismayilov reminded the past events that Azerbaijan has organized at the highest level - The First European Games, the World Chess Olympiad, the UEFA European Under-17 Championship, the European Formula 1 Grand Prix, the World and European Championships and other international tournaments.
He said that these events are of great of importance in terms of recognition and promotion of Azerbaijan on the international arena.
"Although some time has passed since the organization of these competitions in our country, the sports society still shares its impressions. Taking into account this high organizational level, the international sports organizations regularly entrust our country to host sports events," Ismayilov noted.
"In order to justify this confidence, we are making efforts to carry out our duties in a worthy manner under special attention and leadership of the Head of State, President of the National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev. Entrusting of the IV Islamic Solidarity Games in 2017 to Azerbaijan proves it once again. I am confident that we will also succeed in hosting these competitions at the highest level as well," he said.
Ismayilov further said that Artistic Gymnastics is favorite sports discipline that attracts large audience in the world, including Azerbaijan as well.
"I would like to emphasize that attention and interest shown in all gymnastics disciplines as well as in Artistic Gymnastics is significantly increased after election of First Lady of the Republic of Azerbaijan, country’s First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva as the President of Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation. As a result, all events are organized at high level and turn into sports festival," he said.
Ismayilov said that for sure this competition will play an important role in improving sport skills of Azerbaijani gymnasts, increasing the interest to this sports discipline as well as facilitate to its further development.
"Taking this opportunity, on behalf of sports community, I would like to express my deep gratitude to the country’s President Mr. Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva for their attention and care shown to sports in Azerbaijan and congratulate Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva on her appointment as the First Vice-President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and wish her successes in her future activity," Ismayilov said.
He went on to add that Azerbaijan is hosting the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup for the second time.
"I thank the leadership of the International Federation of Gymnastics for entrusting the organization of such prestigious competitions to our Republic," he said.
"These events with a participation of athletes from 23 countries of the world, will certainly play an important role in the development and promotion of this gymnastics discipline in Azerbaijan and create favorable conditions for our athletes to gain experience. I am confident that these competitions will become an unforgettable event for the spectators and fans, who came to watch the competitions," he said.
Ismayilov once again welcomed everyone to the competitions, and wished athletes to compete with dignity and win.