Baku 2015 European Games yesterday welcomed Russian wrestling legend Buvaisar Saitiev as he visited Azerbaijan.
The three-times Olympic gold medallist – hailed as the world’s greatest freestyle wrestler – met with Mr Simon Clegg, Baku 2015 Chief Operating Officer, and toured the European Games headquarters.
Mr Saitiev, who has also won six World Championship golds and six European Championships golds, visited several Baku 2015 venues as part of his visit.
Mr Clegg said: “It was an absolute honour to host Mr Saitiev here and to have him tour some of the venues that will host sport at next summer’s inaugural European Games.
“Wrestling is one of the most popular sports here in Azerbaijan and Mr Saitiev is rightly considered a legend, so it was a pleasure to have him visit and share his world-class experiences with our team.”
Mr Saitiev dominated the 74 kilogramme category in freestyle wrestling for more than 10 years, winning gold at the Olympic Games in Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2004 and Beijing 2008.
One of the most decorated Russian athletes of all time, he was awarded the prestigious Order of Friendship by the Russian Federation.
Mr Saitiev said: “It was a great honour to visit the Baku 2015 European Games headquarters and to meet with the team to hear the latest on all of their preparations for next year.
“The first ever European Games will be a landmark event that will be celebrated by the whole continent, and I am looking forward to seeing both elite Russian and European athletes competing in these wonderful venues.”
Wrestling will take place over six days at Baku 2015, with 480 athletes competing for 24 medals in the Freestyle and Greco-Roman disciplines in the Heydar Aliyev Arena.