By Nigar Orujova
Baku completed major work as it prepares to host the first European Games, which will take place this summer, said Chingiz Huseynzade, the vice president of the Azerbaijan National Olympic Committee.
Through 17 days of competition, over 6,000 sportsmen will represent 50 countries in 20 sports. The Games will take place in 21 stadia and facilities in Baku and Mingachevir city.
"All construction and installation works on the Baku Olympic Stadium have been completed, and the preparatory work for its opening is underway. Basically only improvement works are left," he said on March 17.
The budget of the first European Games provides for the implementation of more efficient programs, Huseynzade said, adding that while the largest funds are being allocated for construction and repair work and the activity of the Organizing Committee as a whole.
The vice president also commented on the issue of payment by Azerbaijan for the participation of all foreign athletes in the first European Games. He said that just like at the Olympic Games, accommodation, travel expenses of foreign athletes are paid by the Organizing Committee.
“It is noted in all contracts,” he said. “We, like an organizing side, cover all these costs. This is normal. Our advantage is that as during the Olympic Games all income from marketing belongs to the International Olympic Committee. In our country all the income, whether it comes from the sales of tickets or television, will be an income for Azerbaijan.”
He further added that the preparation for the first European Games is in its the final stage. The composition of participants from all countries of the first European Games has been also defined.
“Less than 90 days are left before the start of the European Games,” he said. “As you know, sports facilities have already been built, and many of them are ready for use, test competitions are being held. In April, test competitions in boxing and wrestling will be held. Palace of water sports is also fully operational, and its testing will take place in April or May.”
Huseynzade also announced the full readiness of the Olympic Village.
Today, one of the main challenges of Azerbaijan remains to attract as many spectators as possible.
“We hope Azerbaijani spectators will come to attend sporting events,” he said. Ultimately, Azerbaijan will win, he believes.
Baku was awarded the Games by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in December 2012. The Baku European Games Operations Committee (BEGOC) will organize and run the Games in cooperation with the EOC.
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
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