By Nigar Orujova
Two years of hard work and preparation by a young, but ambitious country are coming to the end as Azerbaijan is slated to open the historic inaugural European Games in Baku on June 12.
The Baku 2015 European Games Organizing Committee promises a magnificent opening night at the newly-built National Olympic Stadium. The venue, which can host 60,000 visitors, is expected to reach full capacity. Expectations run high as tickets for the ceremony sold out days before the event.
Anticipation is at a maximum in the last hours before the show. Baku’s Olympic Stadium is ready to display all the culture and history of this vibrant city with a once-in-a-lifetime showcase of entertainment and sport.
The European Games Opening Ceremony will begin at 9 p.m. Baku time and will be broadcast live on baku2015.com, YouTube, and Television stations around the world.
The extraordinary event will be attended by the world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, and Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic.
Ministers, members of parliament and other officials from UK, France, Czech Republic, Belgium, Ukraine, Romania, San Marino, Mexico, Latvia, Oman, etc. will represent their respective countries.
The Opening Ceremony will be a celebration of traditional Azerbaijani culture, reflecting the host city’s modern role in Europe. A spectacular show directed by Dimitris Papaioannou, featuring a cast of over 2,000 people, will dazzle audiences around the world.
Azerbaijan gained the honor of hosting the grand event for the entire continent in December 2012. From then onward, the whole country has been getting ready to embrace over 6,000 athletes from 50 countries along with many tourists.
The capital city has already welcomed most of the athletes housed in the Athletes Village, and is expecting about 10,000 guests.
Interest for the competitions is so high that tickets for sporting events are also selling rapidly, with over 100 of the sessions already sold out.
Baku 2015 European Games will include such sports as Archery, Athletics, Badminton, 3x3 Basketball, Beach Soccer and Beach Volleyball, Boxing, Canoe Sprint, Cycling BMX, Cycling Mountain Bike and Cycling Road, Diving, Fencing, Gymnastics Acrobatic, Gymnastics Aerobic, Gymnastics Artistic and Gymnastics Rhythmic, Judo, Karate, Sambo, Shooting, Swimming and Synchronized Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Trampoline, Triathlon, Volleyball, Water Polo and Wresting.
Twelve of these sports will provide licenses for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, which only increases the importance of this momentous event that will be observed around the world by billions of sports fans.
Foreign media outlets have been covering the preparations for the Games, as journalists staying at the Media Village, touch on the spirit of the Baku 2015 and show the world modern Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan, a backward and dependent state only 100 years ago, rose in the last 25 years to become a leader in the region.
In quarter of the century, Azerbaijan achieved impressive results particularly in sports. 291 athletes from Azerbaijan will join the struggle for supremacy in the innovative sporting event for Europe.
The time has come for Azerbaijan to show the world its achievements by way of the Baku 2015 European Games!
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
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