By Nigar Orujova
Baku 2015 European Games was presented in Moscow on April 10.
Co-organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Azerbaijan’s Embassy to Russia, the event at the Congress Center of the Hotel Ukraine was attended by the Russian public and political figures, representatives of the international sports community and other high-level guests.
Mehriban Aliyeva, Azerbaijan’s First Lady and Chair of the Baku 2015 European Games Organizing Committee, Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva, and Arzu Aliyeva arrived in Moscow to attend the event.
The guests first viewed an exhibition devoted to the historic Baku 2015 Games. Various publications of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation about Azerbaijan, including Baku 2015 Games, were distributed among the guests.
Host of the event, Dmitriy Shepelev noted that the fact the first European Games will be held in Baku testifies to Azerbaijan’s image on the international arena.
“This event, which is of profound political, economic and cultural importance, is an evidence of Azerbaijan’s successes in the sport field in the past few years,” the host said.
Addressing the audience, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Mehriban Aliyeva said the presentation of the European Games was already held in the major European capitals Rome, London, Paris, Athens, Ankara and Berlin.
“I am happy that today we are going to talk about the Games in the capital of friendly Russia, Moscow,” she said.
Mehriban Aliyeva noted that relations between Azerbaijan and Russia are based on solid historical foundations.
“For decades, our peoples have been connected by humanitarian, cultural, human relations, and these relations have created a very favorable climate for the development of bilateral political, economic and public relations. We, in Azerbaijan, respect traditions and pay attention to history. We believe that today's Russian-Azerbaijani relations are an example of friendly, good-neighborly relations based on mutual respect,” she said.
Speaking about sports development in the country, the first lady said, Azerbaijan has a good experience when it comes to holding major international sporting events.
Mehriban Aliyeva said the inaugural European Games will open a new page in the history of European sport organization, stressing that holding the first Games is both a great honor and responsibility for Azerbaijan.
The Games will gather more than 6000 athletes who will compete in 20 sports, 16 of which are Olympic.
“The Baku Games will set the level and standards for all future Games,” she stressed.
Construction of sports facilities has been completed and before the opening of the Games, which will take place on June 12, all 35 test events will be held, she noted.
“We have tried to prepare a very extensive and interesting cultural program, and we hope that all guests of Azerbaijan will be able to learn more about this ancient and yet young country,” Aliyeva added.
Two months are left before the Games, she went on to say, and the entire team is focused on the final preparations. “However, today I can say that Azerbaijan is ready to receive the whole of Europe. We are all on the eve of the grand celebration of peace, friendship and sports. I am sure that the first European Games will be held in a spirit of solidarity, unity, healthy and fair competition.”
The first lady invited all the guests of the event to come to Baku in June to support the Games and the athletes.
The event also heard a speech by President of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov.
He said the European Olympic Committee made “an important and right decision – Europe needed its own Games”.
“This is good that the First European Games was entrusted to grandiose Baku, Azerbaijan. We know how Azerbaijanis love sport. We also know Baku has excellently hosted several huge competitions and has great experience in this field,” he said.
A film on the preparation of Baku 2015 was then screened.
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
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