Mr Simon Clegg, Baku 2015 European Games Chief Operating Officer, has spoken at the ‘Sports for the Masses’ panel debate at the Doha GOALS forum in Doha, Qatar.
The debate, which focused on promoting mass participation events as a vehicle for building a sporting culture and spreading sport into new areas, was chaired by Olympic triple jump champion and world record holder Jonathan Edwards, and involved a number of experts from the sport world.
Baku will host the inaugural European Games next summer from 12 – 28 June, involving more than 6,000 athletes from the National Olympic Committees of Europe across 17 days of competition, in what will be the largest sporting event in Azerbaijan’s history.
Mr Clegg said: “Doha GOALS offers us an excellent opportunity to promote the first ever European Games, the city of Baku, and the country of Azerbaijan to the rest of the world.
“We want the Games to contribute to the wealthy history of Azerbaijan as it continues to look forward to creating a reputation as a dynamic destination in a modern and inclusive Europe.”
The forum, which runs from 3 – 5 November, is an initiative designed to promote the role that sport plays as a driver for social and economic change around the world.
Mr Clegg added: “A vital part of the work we are doing is to build the human legacy being created as our team of experienced international staff work alongside Azerbaijani staff and share their expertise.
“I have no doubt that the staff currently honing their talents within the Baku 2015 European Games Operations Committee will take their experience forward to organise and manage many more future events to the required high standards that will impress the watching world.
“Baku 2015 will be not only a significant moment in Azerbaijan’s history, but a new chapter in the proud history of European sport that will unify the whole continent in celebration.”
Doha GOALS – Gathering of All Leaders in Sport – was founded under the patronage of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in January 2012. Other topics on this year’s agenda include confronting racism and discrimination in sport, ethics in global sport, and changing the perception of women in sport.