By Nigar Orujova
Azerbaijani athletes continue to do their best to perform with honor at the inaugural European Games and the results have surprised the nation. At present, Azerbaijan is ranked second in the medal count with 16 medals, seven of which are gold.
Azerbaijan did not expect to gain so many gold medals, said Azad Rahimov, the Minister of Youth and Sports, on June 15.
“To gain six gold medals in the first three days is significant,” he said. “The fact that the competitions are being held in Azerbaijan has strengthened our athletes.”
The minister emphasized the achievements reached in the triathlon.
“The triathlon has been developed in Azerbaijan for about a year,” he said. “A year ago, the Azerbaijan Triathlon Federation was registered in both the International Triathlon Union and the European Triathlon Union.”
“The fact that we have achieved high results shows that Azerbaijan is a sporting country. We pay equal attention to all kinds of sport. Our athlete’s victory will inspire young people to engage in this kind of sport and to achieve success in the triathlon. Of course, this is a positive factor,” the minister stressed.
The inaugural Baku 2015 European Games commenced in Azerbaijan’s capital on June 12, gathering over 6,000 athletes from 50 countries.
Before the start of the Games, Rahimov said that the main objective was for Azerbaijan is to stay in the top ten.
He noted, however, that the outcome of such an event is unpredictable.
Azerbaijani sportsmen are participating in all sports, giving them an opportunity to win medals in all of the competitions. The support of local audience also drives the success of the national team.
The primary goal of conducting major competitions like Baku2015 is to raise a healthy young generation.
Azerbaijan joins the struggle for supremacy in the largest sporting event in Europe with 291 athletes.
Azerbaijani gold medal winners receive 100,000 manats (over $95.300), silver winners are awarded 50,000 manats (over $47,600), and bronze medal winners receive 30,000 manats (over $28,600).
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
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