Baku, May 26, AZERTAC
Belgian “www.euractive.com” has interviewed Azerbaijani Minister of Youth and Sport Azad Rahimov.
In the interview, the minister highlighted the importance of the first European Games. “The Baku 2015 European Games are a very good chance to improve our sports infrastructure and to speed up projects we have been planning for a long time. It’s also a chance for our young people to gather experience from a large-scale event. Two and a half years ago, it was very difficult to find 10 young people with basic understanding how to organise such an event, Now we have over 1000 young people involved in the Baku games operating committee, who have gained experience, and will be able to promote themselves in different markets, and help organise similar events in different countries.”
“It will be a major chance to show Baku to the world as a European country, as a Muslim, but secular state, as a good bridge between East and West, between the Muslim Orient and the Christian Europe, and to show the beauty of the country, [its] very ancient history, our music, art, food and hospitality. It is very important for a country that gained independence only 23 years ago to position itself on the map of Europe as a European country,” he said.
Mr Rahimov said: “To organise Olympic Games is a pretty expensive project for any country. Sometimes the requirements of the Olympic Federation are very high. As an example, the sport hall hosting the Olympic swimming pool should have a minimum of 15,000 seats. To build such a big sports venue is a very expensive exercise of course. The advantage of Baku is that we are focusing on the existing venues, doing refurbishing work. We are using multifunctional venues, such as the Cristal Hall, which hosted the Eurovision song contest. Now it’s a venue hosting five sports during the European Games. We base ourselves on temporary buildings in the Olympic park, where we host water polo, 3x3 basketball, beach football and beach volleyball. And we also build new buildings. But again, from the point of view of legacy, the three big arenas that were built during the last two years, the Olympic football stadium, the Aquatic centre, and the Shooting Centre, were planned before the idea of the European Games came about.”
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