Kazakhstan joins international return for gymnastics

© Kazakhstan National Olympic Committee
© Kazakhstan National Olympic Committee

Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, October 1, 2020: Kazakhstan will be represented by three athletes when international gymnastics competition resumes with the FIG World Challenge Cup Series in Artistic Gymnastics at Szombathely, Hungary from October 2-4.

Milad Karimi, Nariman Kurbanov and Ilyas Azizov will fly the flag for Kazakhstan at the event which will feature more than 80 gymnasts from 18 European countries. All three Kazakh athletes took part at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang.

“These three gymnasts have trained in isolation during quarantine and are in very good shape,” said Kazakhstan head gymnastics coach Aleksandr Kim. The national team was only able to start training as a group in August. 

Gymnastics had to undergo an enforced six-month break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Szombathely will be only the fourth FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Cup of 2020 following events earlier this year in Melbourne, Milwaukee and Baku.

Hungary’s borders are closed to foreign travelers, though the government is allowing international sporting events to take place provided athletes, coaches and officials adhere to strict health guidelines.

Foreign teams entering Hungary will have to provide two negative COVID-19 tests taken two days apart. Once in Szombathely, social distancing measures will be in place and face masks will have to be worn at all times unless the gymnast is performing on the apparatus.

“This is the moment we have all been waiting for. Gymnasts have been eagerly anticipating returning to competition,” said Morinari Watanabe, President of the International Gymnastic Federation.