Baku, June 8, AZERTAC
It has been fantastic to be working with AZERTAC Chief Operating Officer of Baku European Games Operation Committee (BEGOC) Simon Clegg has said that the inaugural European Games, which will take place in Baku from June 12-28, are being delivered to a really high level of international standard as he was interviewed by AZERTAC.
The following is the text of the interview:
-Mr. Clegg Azerbaijan has had so little time to prepare for the European Games. How did BEGOC manage to have done such a fantastic job in such a short period of time?
- We at BEGOC lead an incredibly talented team which is a very rich mixture of our expats and dynamic, young, very-well educated and ambitious Azeris. It is more than 2,000 members of staff, 78 percent of which are Azeris. And this rich mixture has brought together both the experience from the international community, including people like myself that have been involved in previous events, and our Azeri colleagues. One of the most important things is that we will live behind a real human legacy from delivering the first ever European Games. So Azerbaijan will be much better positioned in the future to organize its own events without so much involvement of people from the international community.
- Azerbaijan hopes to hold the European Games to Olympic standards. Do you think that sport venues, infrastructure and organizational work are sufficient to get this done?
- As a result of the successful staging of the European Games Azerbaijan is much better positioned to bid for future events going forward, whatever those events might be. I think Azerbaijan has been incredibly responsible in terms of building prominent facilities where there is a long term legacy leaved for the future inhabitants of Baku. You’ve now got a fantastic 50m swimming pool. You’ve now got a new national gymnastics venue. You’ve now got an amazing, fantastic Olympic stadium and, of course, a shooting range as well. These are of Olympic standards without a doubt.
- What innovations and advantages will Baku 2015 mark in terms of the organization in comparison with previous Olympic Games?
- Well, I don’t think that we should necessarily always use the Olympic Games as our reference point. This is the first ever European Games. We are creating sporting history for the continent of Europe and we are having to produce a new event which is right and fitting for the best athletes in Europe. So we try to do things slightly differently. We try to bring some innovations and some exciting initiatives like combining Olympic and non-Olympic sports, like including blind judo as a totally integrated part of the sports program, like having 3x3 basketball, beach soccer, and sambo and karate. I think that is a very exciting time. So we mustn’t always compare against the Olympic Games, this event has been delivered and all of the arrangements have been put in place to Olympic standards.
- What can you say of the way the local media are promoting the Games? What is BEGOC doing to ensure professional coverage of the Games?
Well, we recognize how important the local media here are. You were a wonderful partner for us. It has been fantastic to be working with AZERTAC ss we go forward to make sure that the information gets out to all of the public. We need the support of the public. We want Azeris to feel incredibly proud that their country is hosting this first event and it is being delivered to a really high level of international standard. So the media are very important partners for us. Of course, they are the people who are communicating with the public, telling them how well the ticket sales are going. Very shortly, we think we will be sold out for the opening ceremony. So if people still want to be a piece of the creation of sporting history not only here in Azerbaijan, but also whole of the continent of Europe, then they need to get out into the boulevard, down into the shopping malls to buy tickets. And, very shortly, most of the tickets will be sold out.