By Nigar Orujova
Azerbaijan has achieved big results in sport this year, not only winning the high number of medals, but also successfully organizing inaugural Baku 2015 European Games in June.
During the 17 days of thrilling competition, Azerbaijan welcomed over 6,000 athletes in 20 sports, both Olympic and non-Olympic sports. The magnificent opening and closing ceremonies as well as competitions were broadcasted all over the world.
Overall, this year Azerbaijani athletes won 823 medals at international competitions, 321 of which are gold medals.
Finalizing the year, the ceremony of awarding sportsmen and sports professionals with participation of President Ilham Aliyev and his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva, was held at the National Olympic Committee on December 23.
President Aliyev praised the achievements of the Azerbaijani athletes in international competitions.
“A remarkable young generation grows," he stressed. "Our young athletes, children, and adolescents are representing decently our country in various international competitions: World and European Championships, Youth Olympics. The new generation grows up, the vast majority of outstanding athletes do not leave sports after ending a career. They remain in sports as trainers and specialists."
The government embraces all athletes with state care and addresses their social problems.
The country promotes sports comprehensively opening new sports facilities every year. Azerbaijan has 41 Olympic sports complexes, which provides excellent organization of the training process.
In addition, ten new complexes are under construction in the country. After finalizing of these projects, every region of Azerbaijan will enjoy excellent facilities for sports.
Well designed and renovated modern sports infrastructure in Baku meets the global standards. That allows hosting prestigious international competitions, and the first European Games was a bright proof for that.
“The Azerbaijani people love their athletes, and rejoice their success. All patriotic citizens of Azerbaijan feel a sense of pride that we were able to achieve great success in the sport,” President Aliyev added.
Ilham Aliyev, who is also the president of the NOC, stressed that Azerbaijan is already known in the world as a sport country, and added that the heads of international sports organizations also confirm this fact.
This year was historic in sport live of Europe for the first European Games that Azerbaijan organized at the highest level.
The president stressed that success of the Azerbaijani sportsmen is a special joy.
Following Russian and preceding the UK, Azerbaijan managed to gain a total of 56 medals – 21 gold, 15 silver, and 20 bronze medals – at Baku 2015, which is a definite indicator of the sport development in the young country.
Next year’s Formula 1 race will be held first in the region and specifically in the city to show the world the beauty of Baku. It is expected that Azerbaijani chess players will bring victory to the country at the World Chess Olympiad in Baku.
The president summarized that Azerbaijan is developing all kinds of sports both traditional and new sports. The head of state wished the sportsmen new victories in 2016, in particular in the forthcoming Olympic Games next summer, where Azerbaijani athletes already have about 30 licenses.
The event was followed with a prize giving ceremony with participation of athletes and sports professionals who have achieved great success in 2015.
The president also gave certificates for new apartments to a group of athletes and sports professionals who advanced this year.