The UK magazine “Diplomat” devoted its May-June edition to “Baku 2015” First European Olympic Games, SIA informs.
"These large events have been accompanied by an impressive upgrade of Azerbaijan’s infrastructure, including new sports facilities, an improved road network and bolstered phone and online communications. Planning for the European Games is progressing hand-in-hand with the Islamic Solidarity Games, which will take place in Baku in 2017. Furthermore, a number of other important sporting events, including the international Chess Olympiad, Formula 1 and UEFA Euro 2020 matches will come to Baku over the next few years. There are no limits as to what Azerbaijan can achieve when it comes to international sport." the article says.
"On 12 June, the curtain will raise on the first European Games in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku. The European Games were created at the General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees on 9 December 2012 in Rome when 84 per cent of the National Olympic Committees of Europe voted for the creation of the European Games. A multi-sport event for athletes from all over Europe, the European Games will be held every four years, and Baku was named as the first host city. The Games are owned, organised and regulated by the European Olympic Committees. The concept is a continental multi-sport event along the lines of an Olympic or Commonwealth Games. Asia has already been holding its equivalent games every four years since 1951, so one could argue that the European Games have been a long time coming. In total, 50 European countries will bring around 6,000 athletes to compete in Azerbaijan.
There are 20 sports on show in Baku, which will encompass 30 disciplines. Of those sports, 16 are Olympic events, while the other four – karate, basketball 3x3, beach soccer and sambo (a martial art that was developed in the 1920s by the Red Army in order to improve hand-to-hand combat) – are new sports to this format. In judo, the European Games will double as the European Championships. The other 15 sports are: aquatics, archery, athletics, badminton, volleyball, boxing, canoe, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon and wrestling. There will be 253 medal events, and there will also be opportunities in 12 sports to qualify for next year’s Olympics in Rio.
Great Britain, for example, will send its largest overseas contingent since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. They expect to send between 160 and 170 athletes to Baku, and with 15 months until the Rio Olympics, the event could have a say in how well Team GB do inBrazil. Mark England, Team GB Chef de Mission for Baku 2015 (and Rio 2016 Olympic Games) said: “Because qualification for the Olympic Games is at stake, some of the athletes involved will be reigning Olympic champions and some will be aspiring Olympians… We’re looking at a top, top team.” He went on to say: “Baku has been chosen by the European Olympic Committees. We’re supporting, alongside the 49 other European Olympic nations, the opportunity to go there.”
At the core of the Government’s ambition for the European Games is a commitment to ensuring both a physical and human legacy of Baku 2015. These fundamental goals of the European Games are a key part of Azerbaijan’s 2020 vision, and a fundamental basis of President’s Aliyev’s strategy to turn black gold into human gold. I’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the First Lady of Azerbaijan, for her tireless support and engagement to ensure that the European Games are a world-class event.
Baku 2015 is an opportunity to present Azerbaijan to the world. What are your hopes, plans and priorities for the inaugural European Games?
This is a great opportunity for a young and dynamic country like Azerbaijan to showcase itself in front of the world. Our television deals not only involve Europe, but also the rest of the globe with contracts signed in the US and Canada, Latin America, India,China, Hong Kong, the Arab world and Australia.
Baku 2015 will mark a milestone on Azerbaijan’s progress as a modern, secular European nation. It provides us with an opportunity to showcase our famous hospitality in the spirit of multi-cultural, inter-ethnic friendship, and welcome our guests to Baku, an emerging centre for commerce, leisure and tourism.
Azerbaijan is a country that looks to the future while honouring our traditions and history. It is our government’s firm belief that one of our country’s greatest assets and source of long-term prosperity is our youth. Young people are the future of any society, and as one of the youngest populations in Europe, Azerbaijan is blessed with great potential in that regard. These inaugural European Games will demonstrate the enthusiasm of our population."