BP supports Elite Athlete Development and Coaching Programme

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Baku, March 20, AZERTAC

BP has announced its support for the elite athlete development and coaching programme designed for Azerbaijani national athletes as they prepare for Baku 2015 European Games and beyond.

According to BP, the programme is implemented in collaboration with the National Olympic Committee of, the Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Michael Johnson Performance (MJP), a well-known international athletes training company led by Michael Johnson, a celebrity athlete - winner of four Olympic gold medals and holder of the world record for the 400m.

The six month programme started in January 2015. It aims to create opportunities for a large group of national athletes and coaches to benefit from MJP’s international experience as they work to achieve sporting excellence enhancing Azerbaijan’s representation in international sporting events. This is expected to ensure high-level preparation of target national athletes and coaches for Baku 2015 European Games and other competitions including 2016 Olympic Games.

The programme targets four national sport federations - Athletics, Gymnastics, Triathlon and Fencing, to be represented by both coaches and athletes including BP’s Ambassador Athletes. To date up to 30 athletes and 20 coaches have already been assessed and selected for the programme.

Gordon Birrell, BP’s Regional President for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, said: “BP is pleased to work with the National Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Michael Johnson Performance to assist Azerbaijan’s selected athletes and coaches in their preparation for the upcoming important sporting event. We hope these initiatives will help Azerbaijan stand out not only as a host country that can efficiently deliver major projects, but also demonstrate sporting excellence using the international experience offered by this programme.

“I am particularly pleased that BP’s support for the Baku Games targets to help capability-building and athlete development efforts of Azerbaijan. Some months ago we, together with BEGOC, launched the Games Academy Graduate Excellence Programme - an innovative learning initiative aimed to help around 200 graduates gain project management experience and develop new skills. We believe these are great initiatives that will help the country achieve sporting excellence as well as leaving a sustainable capability legacy”.

Azad Rahimov, Minister of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan and CEO of Baku 2015 European Games, said: “As well as being an Official Partner of the first European Games, it is fantastic to see the support which BP is providing to assist with elite athlete development and coaching in Azerbaijan. I am sure this will further help our country’s athletes in their preparation for Baku 2015 and their attempts to make history by becoming the first ever European Games champions in their respective sports”.

Chingiz Huseynzade, Vice President of National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan, said: We have been partnering with BP since 2012 and this has covered a wide range of projects including sponsorship of elite athletes of the National Olympic Team, sport journalism, event volunteering for the European Youth Olympic Trials and others. The elite athlete development and coaching programme is a new and unique initiative - the first of this kind and type in Azerbaijan. I therefore highly appreciate this partnership and look forward to successful results”.

Michael Johnson, President and Founder of Michael Johnson Performance Company, said: “Michael Johnson Performance is pleased and honoured to work with BP, the Azerbaijani Olympic Committee, and the Ministry of Youth and Sports to assist athletes and coaches as they prepare for the upcoming inaugural European Games and beyond as these athletes prepare for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Our mission is to help every athlete reach his or her full athletic potential, so I am particularly pleased that we are assisting the Olympic Committee in developing the athleticism of the next generation of athletes. Michael Johnson Performance is the world leader in athletic development training and our presence in Azerbaijan serves to continue or goal of providing excellence in athletic development to athletes and coaches in all regions of the world”.

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