Recently, the press service of Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation has talked with the Rhythmic Gymnastics National Team of Singapore taking part in the training camp at Milli Gimnastika Arenası (MGA, National Gymnastics Arena) for the first time. Head of the delegation Patrick Ho and its manager Serena Wong Soo Han shared their impression on Azerbaijan and the conditions at the MGA. "This is our first visit to Azerbaijan. The Arena's infrastructure is very good. We did not expect to see such a facility. We do not have any pity that we have chosen Baku for the training camp”.
Guests emphasizing favorable conditions for hosting high-level events at the Arena, expressed their content with conditions created for the gymnasts.
“We have joined Baku for training camp with 13 gymnasts. We have Southeast Asian Games held every two years ahead of us. Our team won the gold medal at the Games’ previous competitions and we wish to repeat our victory this time as well", said Patrick Ho. Patrick noted that their team was participating in the training camp for the first time and emphasized his wish to come to Azerbaijan for the training camp in future again.
Singaporean National Team’s coach Natalia Rybak also expressed her content with the training conditions in her interview.
1. Is it your first visit to Azerbaijan? What is your impression?
Yes, I am visiting this country for the first time. I liked being here very much. For now, we have been only in the hall. I am very impressed by an atmosphere you have here.
2. Did you have any information about the development of gymnastics in our country before arriving here?
I have been coaching for 35 years and I used to be a gymnast before. So, I watch rhythmic gymnastics events a lot. I always liked exercises of the Azerbaijani gymnasts. Moreover, I like the work system and method of preparation of gymnasts for the competitions here. During the events, I see how talented is Head Coach of the Azerbaijani National Team in Rhythmic Gymnastics Mariana Vasileva, and her attitude to her work. In general, great attention is paid to Rhythmic Gymnastics in Azerbaijan. Therefore, we have chosen this place for the training camp. I hope, along with my gymnasts, I will learn a lot here.
3. What do you think about the Arena?
I am impressed by the Arena. Everything is so convenient in the hall. I liked the infrastructure, hall, hotel, and, especially, the people working here. Of course, I was not surprised by what I saw, but I did not expect to see good conditions to such an extent. I work with my gymnasts at this hall for a second day. Mariana Vasileva and Natalya Bulanova help me a lot. I see that your gymnasts are hardworking. Your coaches, choreographers are doing an exemplary work. There are trainings here all day and you do not want to leave the hall. If my gymnasts do not get tired, we would train all day long (laughing).
4. What can you say about our coaches?
Despite their young age, your coaches and choreographers are professionals. I feel very happy to have an opportunity to be here, work with them and learn something from them. Your coaches treat their gymnasts very well. Coaches respect their gymnasts and do not raise their voice during the working process. Gymnasts’ rights are protected here. I think that such a relationship between gymnasts and coaches is the dream of all gymnasts and their parents. Of course, I pay more attention to this issue in the training process.
5. It would be interesting for us to hear about your gymnasts. How long have you been coaching them?
Gymnasts, arrived to Baku with me are the members of the Singaporean Senior and Junior National Teams. I have been working with them for a year. At present, we are preparing for the Southeast Asian Games’ events. It is an important tournament for us. We will participate with a senior team in group exercises and individual gymnasts in these competitions. To win a victory at this event, to be among the prize-winners is the most important part of my work. Our work is difficult but the goal is always achievable.
6. How many hours per day do you have your trainings in Singapore?
When there are no lessons at schools, we train 8-9 hours, but when they go to school, we can train only 6 hours. The trainings make the athletes professionals, so we train a lot.
7. Is there a great interest to rhythmic gymnastics in Singapore?
Yes, they are fond of Rhythmic Gymnastics and the sport is developed at the state level. Rhythmic gymnastics is also included into the school program. Singapore Gymnastics Championship between schools are organized every year in April. My gymnasts also perform at these competitions.
8. We would like to hear about your future plans.
My most important plan for the future is to prepare the Singaporean team for the competitions at high level.