By Nick Butler

The first quota places have been released for Baku 2014 in aerobic and trampoline gymnastics events, where Britains Kat Driscoll will be among the favourites ©Getty ImagesA first round of quota places have been unveiled in the sports of aerobic and trampoline gymnastics ahead of the inaugural European Games in Baku next year.

Following the conclusion of the European Aerobic Championships in France last November and the European Trampoline Championships in Portugal last month, a total of 120 quota places for the two disciplines have been distributed.

The 120 places span 22 different National Olympic Committees (NOC), with the maximum number possible for each nation consisting of four trampoline and six aerobic athletes. 

A process is now underway in which each NOC confirms how many quota places they wish to take up.

Georgia, a close neighbour of the host nation, was the first to confirm their acceptance. 

"Today marks an important milestone in our journey to deliver the inaugural European Games in Baku with the allocation of the first quota places to the NOCs," said Baku 2015 chief operating officer Simon Clegg.

"Over the coming months, further announcements and athlete selections will help build the excitement and anticipation of the event both here in Azerbaijan and across the whole of Europe.

"Athletes will be at the heart of our Games and we congratulate those who have achieved quota places for their country.

"Those selected can be assured of a generous and warm welcome in Baku next summer."

No set timetable has yet been confirmed for the announcement of quota events in other sports, but the process is set to continue throughout the rest of this year.

Acrobatic, artistic and rhythmic gymnastics event will also be held at Baku 2015 ©Getty ImagesAcrobatic, artistic and rhythmic gymnastics event will also be held at Baku 2015
©Getty Images

The gymnastics competition at the Games is being billed as a landmark format by European Union of Gymnastics (UEG) President Gorges Guelzec, which will "rewrite the history of the sport".

It will mark the first time that all five disciplines, consisting also of acrobatic, rhythmic and artistic events, will be held together. 

It will be a particular breakthrough for aerobics, a discipline where athletes produce continuously complex and high-intensity movement patterns to music, in its bid to be eventually added to the Olympic programme.

Among those expected to excel will be the male and female continental aerobics champions Riccardo Pentassuglia of Italy and Sara Moreno of Spain, while Russia and Romania are other strong nations.

The 6,800 capacity National Gymnastics Arena, where all five events will be held, was opened last month by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

It will be one of the first venues to host a test event, when the European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships are due to be held there from June 13 to 15.

James Macleod, director of athlete services and operations, claimed it was marker of "more progress in the countdown to the European Games which will allow NOCs across Europe to begin planning their team's participation in the Games".

In total, more than 6,000 athletes are expected to compete in Baku across 19 sports, with the Games due to take place from June 12 to 28 next year.  

There will be a total of 34 medals available across gymnastics, the second highest number of medal opportunities in any sport after aquatics.

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