By Nigar Orujova
The inaugural European Games Baku 2015 was a spectacular success, and a wonderful way to add the missing fifth ring to the Continental Games of the world, reads the European Olympic Committees statement adopted at the 44th General Assembly of the European Olympic Committee held in Prague, Czech Republic.
The results of Baku 2015 European Games were discussed at the General Assembly that brought together about 350 representatives of the International Olympic Committee, national Olympic committees, organizers of forthcoming Olympic Games, and organizers of the next Youth Olympic Games (Lillehammer 2016).
From the Azerbaijani side, the event was attended by Vice-president of National Olympic Committee Chingiz Huseynzade, Youth and Sport Minister Azad Rahimov and Head of International Relations at the NOC Konul Nurullayeva.
President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach applauded the highest level of hosting Baku 2015 European Games.
The inaugural European Games has been held at the highest level of Summer Olympics in Baku this June with participation of 6,000 athletes from around Europe.
On his part, President of the European Olympic Committee Patrick Hickey highlighted the first European Games as the successful sport event.
Minister Azad Rahimov delivered a report on the results of the first European Games.
The event also featured a demonstration of video on First European Games.
“The first Baku-2015 European Games are an example of Azerbaijani tolerance and cultural traditions,” said Rahimov. “At this event we were able to demonstrate the development of our potential, cultural and moral values.”
A survey that covered over 150,000 young people reveled that eighty percent of respondents believe that the Games have played a positive role in promoting Azerbaijan.
A host for the 2019 edition of the European Games is still unknown, as the EOC is officially seeking for the host country. The Netherlands were chosen to hold the event, but withdrew on the eve of Baku 2015 due to financial difficulties.
Later, the Games were expected to be shared between Russian Sochi – a host of last year's Winter Olympics and Paralympics, and Kazan, which staged the Summer Universiade in 2013.
The EOC said a decision about the host of the second European Games will be delayed due to the Russian doping scandal.
Addressing the event, Hickey said Russia is still the EOC’s preferred partner for hosting the 2019 European Games, which is providing the independent authorities can confirm Russia’s ability to support an anti-doping programme that meets the highest international standards.
There are still four years left for the second edition of the European Games and Russia has real potential to demonstrate its new robust anti-doping system and clean sport culture through the 2019 European Games, the EOC statement said.
At Baku 2015, Russia took the lead for the number of medals with 79 gold, 40 silver, and 45 bronze medals. Azerbaijan ranked second with a total of 56 medals – 21 gold, 15 silver, and 20 bronze medals. The UK ranked third by winning 18 gold, 10 silver, and 19 bronze medals.
Earlier, the World Anti-Doping Agency congratulated Baku 2015 European Games for their anti-doping program.
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’ staff journalist. Follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
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