Pakistani media highlights first European Games to be held in Baku

Islamabad, April 28, AZERTAC

Pakistani “Centreline” magazine and “Diplomatic News Agency” Information Agency have issued an article titled “First-Ever European Olympics to be Held in Azerbaijan”.

The article reads: 12 June to 28 June 2015 Baku, the capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan, will host the First European Olympics, organized by International Olympic Organization, including 49 national European Olympic committees. This decision, as a result of the secret balloting, where out of 48 votes, 38 came in favor, was made on 8 December 2012 at the 41-st General Assembly of the European Olympic Committee held in Rome, in the Italian National Olympic Committee head-quarter at “Foro Italico” stadium.

As it was said by President of European Olympic Committee (EOC) Patrick Hickey, “We stand at the origins of one of the greatest events in the sport history in Europe. I am proud to say that the first European games will be held in 2015 in Baku.

The Azerbaijani Government has moved swiftly on organization. Describing the Games as a ‘historic event’, President Ilham Aliyev issued an order on 17 January, 2013 setting up an Organizing Committee. The Committee is chaired by First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, who had already an experience in holding world-level events such as song contest “Eurovision-2012” also hosted by Baku, as Chairperson. The organization and hospitality in Baku impressed the competitors and fans as well as the TV.

The European Games Committee has 30 members, including ministers and Olympic champions. Azerbaijan has hired many international experts, including lots of people who worked on the London 2012 Olympic Games, to help ensure the Games are well organized.

Of course, it wasn’t so easy to organize such an important event for the first time, as there are no previous games to use as a model. Specially for holding the First European Games 2015, Baku is completing construction and reconstruction of several Olympic facilities. Heydar Aliyev Sports and Concert Complex, the Tofig Bahramov Republican Stadium, the Baku Crystal Hall, the Sarhadhchi Sports Complex, the Palace of Hand Games, the Shafa Stadium, Baku Expo Centre, Baku Olympic Stadium, Aquatic Sports, Shooting Centre, Gymnastics Complex and number of others are ready to host competitors from all around Europe.

The Games’ official opening and closing ceremonies are to be held in the new stadium, which will have a capacity of 69,000. Some 6,000 athletes from 50 European countries and 1,000 officials are expected to take part in the Games, with around 2,000 journalists covering the event. The competitors will be accommodated in an Olympic Village and the journalists in a Media Village.

The European Games will feature up to 20 sports at the inaugural event in June 2015. The Games will feature 16 summer Olympic and 4 non-Olympic sports. International federations for handball, volleyball, rugby, boxing, judo, biathlon, horserace, badminton, taekwondo, archery, fencing, canoe, table tennis, wrestling, karate, sambo and others have confirmed their participation in the Games.

There will be 253 medal events – and there will also opportunities in 12 sports to qualify for next year’s Olympics in Rio.

Overall, the European Games will be of great benefit for Azerbaijan in terms of popularizing of sports in the country, development of infrastructure, bringing broader awareness about the country, contribution to the development of tourism and ,indeed, financial dividends.

The authors inform that the European Olympics will not be the last sports events to be held in Azerbaijan. It will be followed by World Chess Cup 2015, Chess Olympiad 2016, Islamic Games 2017 and some games of UEFA Euro 2020.

Gulu Kangarli

Special correspondent

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