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Azerbaijani president, first lady attend event on Olympic committee's 20th anniversary

8 November 2012 13:13 (UTC+04:00)
Azerbaijani president, first lady attend event on Olympic committee's 20th anniversary

President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva on Wednesday attended a solemn ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of Azerbaijan's National Olympic Committee, Azertag state news agency reported.

Addressing the event, President Aliyev briefed the event participants on the history and development of sports in Azerbaijan.

Aliyev said the development of sports in Azerbaijan was associated with the name of national leader Heydar Aliyev.

The president congratulated the entire sporting community and the Azerbaijani people on the occasion of the Olympic committee's anniversary and wished Azerbaijani athletes new successes.

Other speakers included member of the Executive Board of European Olympic Committees, President of the Slovenian Olympic Committee, Janez Kocijancic, and President of the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) Raphael Martinetti.

Kocijancic presented a keepsake of the European Olympic Committee to President Aliyev on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of his country's Olympic committee.

On the same day President Aliyev met foreign delegates who arrived in Azerbaijan to attend the anniversary celebrations.

"Azerbaijan has been a member of the Olympic family for the past 20 years... After 20 years, we have very good relations with federations, Olympic committees, international and European Olympic committees," Aliyev said.

The president pointed out that the country has gained substantial experience in hosting international events such as a meeting of the Executive Committee of the European Olympic Committee, various seminars, conferences as well as world cups including the U-17 women`s football championship.

He expressed confidence that foreign delegates would be informed well about sports infrastructure, the development of sports and international achievements of Azerbaijan.

"I am happy that sports and the Olympic movement have become part of our life, athletes and veterans are perfectly treated," he said.

President of the Polish Olympic Committee, Andrzej Krasnicki, said that celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Azerbaijani Olympic committee is a milestone for not only Azerbaijan but also the whole international Olympic movement.

Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF) Secretary-General Mohammad Saleh Gazdar offered the Federation head, Prince Nawaf bin Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz's greetings to President Aliyev. He said he has witnessed huge development in Azerbaijan over the past five years. He also recalled his meeting with the Azerbaijani leader at the London Olympics.

Head of the Slovenian Olympic Committee Kocijancic noted that Azerbaijan's achievements in the Olympic Games make a contribution to the development of sports in Europe.

Azerbaijan has taken part in the Summer Olympic Games since 1996. The country gained one silver medal in Atlanta in 1996, two gold medals and a bronze medal in Sydney in 2000, one gold and four bronze medals in Athens in 2004 and one gold, two silver and four bronze medals in Beijing in 2008. Moreover, ten medals gained at this year's London Olympics show the progress being made in Azerbaijani sports. During this period Azerbaijan has moved up from the 61st to the 30th place in the rankings of the International Olympic Committee.

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