Baku, June 3, AZERTAC
Team Belgium – the Belgian National Team – has launched its bid for success at the inaugural European Games with a press conference on 2 June at the Sportimonium Sports Museum in Hofstade, near Brussels. The Games are to be hosted in Baku from 12–28 June. The Belgian office of The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) sponsored the event, which included an exhibition of all 65 shortlisted entries and winners from the TEAS Azerbaijan – Sport in Focus competition.
Marc Verwilghen, Director, TEAS Belgium, said: “TEAS is proud to support this event in relation to Team Belgium’s participation in the Baku2015 European Games. Sports are essential to Azerbaijan, and form an inescapable element of Azerbaijani culture. The European Games are an important event for Baku, and construction of stadia and arenas has taken place across the city.
“Today you will also have chance to see an exhibition of entries from the TEAS Azerbaijan – Sport in Focus competition, for which 50 entries were received from 10 countries. The judging panel comprised the renowned photographers Ed Kashi, winner of the World Press Photo Prize; portrait photographer Philipp Rathmer; and leading Azerbaijani photographer Agdes Baghirzade. As a Belgian, I wish Team Belgium every success in Baku.”
Gert Van Looy, Chief of Mission, Team Belgium, explained: “The significance of Baku2015 has increased during the past two months. A large number of Belgian athletes have qualified, and their quality is very high. Several of the disciplines provide qualification opportunities for the Rio2016 Summer Olympic Games.
“I have now visited Baku on three occasions, and am most impressed by the preparations that have taken place. All stadia and arenas are of the highest standard, and are ready for the competition to begin. This is the first edition of the Games, and it is difficult to gauge the quality of sportspersons from other teams that will participate. However, we expect to do well in gymnastics, basketball, judo, volleyball, cycling and taekwondo.
“If Baku2015 is a success, it will make these Games much more valuable when the baton for the second edition is passed to the Netherlands.”
Luc Rampaer, Head of Communications, Team Belgium, commented: “What has been achieved in just over two years to host the Games in Baku is unbelievable. We are bringing 117 athletes, competing across 16 sporting disciplines. There will be around 190 in the Belgian delegation, including coaches and physiotherapists.
“This will include two medal winners from the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games ¬– judoka Charline Van Snick and shooter Lionel Cox. The European Games are an important addition to the international sporting calendar as it brings people together on a human level, rather than solely through economic connections.”
To find out more about the Baku2015 European Games, go to www.baku2015.com.