Seda Tutkhalyan, Viktoria Komova and Aliya Mustafina were officially announced today as the Russian women’s team members for the inaugural European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan. The gymnastics competition will be held from June 14 to 20.
First off: YAY!!! I love this team. I’m looking forward to seeing how Vika and Aliya will both perform after returning from injury. But, I’m most excited for the major international senior competition debut of Seda. Despite her inconsistency issues, she has a style of gymnastics I LOVE. But the reasons behind her possibly not being selected to this team appeared to be much grander than a missed routine or two. The circumstances that made it unclear whether she’d be a part of this team due are far beyond the control of her and so many others.
Seda is of Armenian descent. A couple of months ago, rumors popped up that suggested the flare-up in the century-old conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia may cause security concerns for anyone of Armenian descent that traveled to Azerbaijan for the Euro Games, including those who don’t even reside in Armenia.
In fact, Armenia initially wasn’t sure they would participate in the Games, but made the decision to send athletes a few months ago. To their end, the Azerbaijan government and event organizers have made promises to provide heavy security for the Armenian delegation.
Of course, until the start of the competition, team rosters can change, but Seda being named to the team and going to the European Games is a big deal. I love when sport can override the ills of the world, if even just for a little while. Here’s to a safe, happy experience in Baku for the Armenians as well as everyone else, and a great first European Games!