Beijing, June 13, AZERTAC
Chinese news agency Xinhua News has highlighted the opening of the first ever European Games in Baku.
“A spectacular and heart-warming opening ceremony marked the official start to the inaugural European Games in Baku on Friday evening,” the agency said.
“Over 65,000 spectators gave an enthusiastic reception for the breath-taking show at the Baku Olympic Stadium.
Ahead of the opening ceremony in Azerbaijan on Friday, the flame for the inaugural European Games made its final journey through the capital, Baku,” said Xinhua News.
“Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan attended the opening ceremony along with official delegations of other countries."
An estimated 6,000 athletes, representing 50 European Olympic Committees, will be competing in Baku until June 28 with Olympic gold, silver and bronze medals up for grabs in 20 different sporting disciplines including diving, wrestling, boxing, cycling and gymnastics.
For some of the sports the European Games act as direct qualification for Rio next year, namely shooting and table tennis. For other disciplines - such as taekwondo and archery - the Games offer substantial qualification points on the road to Rio.
Baku was awarded the right to host of the first European Games at the 41st EOC General Assembly in Rome, on December 8, 2012. The European Games will take place every four years thereafter, with the next competition due to be held in 2019.