TODAY.AZ / Baku-2015

European Games prove growth of Azerbaijan’s influence

02 July 2015 [13:38] - TODAY.AZ

/By AzerNews/

By Nigar Orujova

The European Games once again proved the growth of Azerbaijan’s influence, Azerbaijani Youth and Sports Minister Azad Rahimov said in an interview with the Azerbaijan newspaper.

Anti-Azerbaijani forces conducting a campaign to discredit the First European Games failed to achieve their goals, Rahimov said, noting the great importance of the European Games in terms of Azerbaijan’s national interests.

He stressed that the country ranked second for the number of medals won at Baku 2015.

The fact that Azerbaijan has taken a worthy place in the world has greatly troubled anti-Azerbaijani forces, he said.

Those attempting to form a negative view of the First European Games are against Azerbaijan and its national interests, said the minister. “Those who voiced such thoughts are far from the sport.”

The sports minister added that of 16 Olympic sports included in the program of the European Games, 12 were licensed for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“No athlete wants to miss this chance. Over 100 Olympic and world champions were competing for the championship at the Baku 2015,” he said, stressing that the world record in swimming was broken.

Baku 2015 European Games has gathered over 6,000 athletes from all over Europe to compete in 20 sports. Russia won the Games in the overall ranking, Azerbaijan came in second, followed by the Great Britain.

The inaugural sporting festival attracted the interest of sport fans as the tickets for events were sold out the days before the competitions.

Azerbaijan’s facilitated visa regime for the Games allowed over 28,000 foreign tourists to visit the country, according to the Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry.

The majority of the foreigners who obtained tickets to watch the European Games were the citizens of Russia, UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, the US, and the United Arab Emirates, said the ministry.

The next European Games will be held in 2019; however, it is still unclear which would be the host country.

Azerbaijan has offered to light the flame of next Games at Ateshgah Temple, where it was lit during Baku 2015.

The issue of lighting the torch of the European Games in the Ateshgah Temple in Baku will be discussed when the host city will be named, Rahimov said.

“President of the European Olympic Committee Patrick Hickey accepted the offer with appreciation,” the minister added.

Rahimov noted the opening and closing ceremonies of the Baku 2015 were grand. “Azerbaijan has demonstrated to the world its history, culture, art, tolerance, hospitality, and history of the sport.”

The media in many countries have published detailed materials on the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games, he added.

He said First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, who was also President of the Organizing Committee of the Baku 2015 European Games, focused her attention on all of the projects of the foreign specialists involved in these ceremonies.

Prior to the submission of project ideas, the specialists visited Azerbaijani libraries, museums, and were acquainted with historical monuments, while listening to traditional Azerbaijani music for an extended period of time.

All of the ideas were presented to Mehriban Aliyeva, who contributed her amendments, the minister said.

“We are confident that our people liked all the prepared scenes and the show. Azerbaijan has demonstrated to the world its strength and power in both opening and closing ceremonies of the European Games,” the minister stressed.


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