Baku, April 13, AZERTAC
To cycle from Lisbon to Baku, promoting the inaugural European Games along the way. That is the challenge proposed by Jorge Cristóvão, a 53 year-old cyclist and adventure athlete, and the Portuguese National Olympic Committee (NOC). His journey began today at Lisbon’s Torre de Belém, in a ceremony attended by more than 100 people, including athletes and coaches who will represent Portugal in Baku, National Sport Federation representatives, and Mr Cristóvão’s family and friends.
Mr Cristóvão was given the Portuguese flag by the NOC’s Chef de Mission, José Garcia, to whom he will return it on 10 June when he arrives in Baku, in order for the flag to be used by the Portuguese delegation’s flag bearer at the Baku 2015 European Games Opening Ceremony on 12 June.
Mr Cristóvão said: "I made the proposal to the Portuguese Olympic Committee to carry the Portuguese flag to Baku to honor the Portuguese athletes who will compete in this Games. It has an indescribable meaning to me because the national flag is a symbol that has followed me since childhood and is a very strong feeling I have."
Mr Cristóvão was also presented with the electric bike that he will ride for almost 7,000 kilometres, and the President of the Olympic Committee of Portugal, José Manuel Constantino, handed him letters addressed to presidents of NOCs in the countries he will visit on his route to Baku. He will deliver the letters to the NOCs of Spain, France (Côte D’Azur office), Monaco, Italy, Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan, as well as the EOC headquarters in Rome and the Olympic Museum in Thessaloniki, Greece.
These letters from the Portuguese NOC President and Chief Operating Officer of Baku 2015 Simon Clegg will encourage the other NOCs to participate in the European Games with their best athletes, thereby promoting the event throughout Europe and the rest of the world.
At the end of the ceremony, the new Mayor of the City of Lisbon, Fernando Medina, gave Mr Cristóvão a letter addressed to the Baku Mayor, Hajibala Abutalybov.