By Nigar Orujova
Hosting a variety of large, high-level sports events paves the way for the Olympic Games for Azerbaijan, said Azad Rahimov, the Youth and Sports Minister.
Rahimov made the remark while commenting on the possibility of Baku hosting the 2024 Summer Olympic Games at a press conference on June 26.
"Next year we're hosting the World Chess Olympiad," he said. "We will also host the Formula 1 in Azerbaijan for the first time in July 2016, and then we have UEFA European Under-17 Championship," he added.
Azerbaijan will host the championship finals at the 15th UEFA European Under-17 Championship 2015-16.
The country has already hosted the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup and various other international competitions, such as 2011 World Amateur Boxing Championships.
Rahimov also recalled that Azerbaijan earlier submitted bids for the 2016 Summer Olympics and later submitted a bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
"Of course the European Games is also one of the steps to show that the country is ready to host big sports events," the minister said.
"All these different events, including the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games and 2020 European Football Championship show that we are preparing for the next step, we are checking our possibilities, our readiness in different spheres, and we're promoting sports and the country as well," Rahimov stressed.
Speaking about Baku bidding for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, Rahimov said that the final decision would have to be made by the country's leadership.
"We have time to analyze the outcome of the European Games, just to see where we are, what our possibilities are and after that, I think the decision will be made," the minister said.
Azerbaijan is currently wrapping up the inaugural European Games that are underway in the country's capital of Baku. The European Games kicked off on June 12 to last 17 days until June 28. There are a total of 20 sports at Baku 2015: 16 Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports.
The minister also stressed that Azerbaijan is ready to share its knowledge about the preparation and management of the inaugural European Games.
“We are in position to share our knowledge with any other city and support European Olympic Committee,” Rahimov said, adding that Azerbaijan believes that it is very important event for European sports.
Rahimov also said Azerbaijan has acquired quite a bit of interesting technological innovations for the Games and that it will be available to be delivered to any other city free of charge.
More than 6,000 athletes from across Europe came to Baku to represent their nations over the 17 days of competition. Baku was awarded the games by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in December 2012.
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
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