- - Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Baku 2015 European Games will play an important role in the history of European sport, the First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, member of the Executive Committee of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and the Chair of the Baku 2015 First European Games Organizing Committee said in welcoming the European Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission to Baku to inspect progress in preparations for the Games in Baku in 2015.

The First Lady said the people and Government of Azerbaijan were fully committed to supporting the European Games, which will involve the 49 Olympic nations of Europe in the first pan-continental multi-sport event in 2015.

“The European Games will be held in Azerbaijan for the first time. It marks a new era in the European sports movement,” said the First Lady, who is also chair of the Baku European Games Organizing Committee.

“I would like to again underline that the Games are supported by the people of Azerbaijan who are excited and proud that our country will play a very important role in the history of European sport,” she told Coordination Commission members, who will receive detailed presentations over the next two days from organizers about developments in key Games areas, including sport and venues, technology, transport, accommodation, and communications.

Baku 2015 Games organizers meanwhile, have also lifted the curtains for the first time on some of the iconic venues and spaces that will be used to stage the first European Games.

Local and international media were given a sneak preview of a number of venues that will host international athletes and sports here in Baku, including Crystal Hall, which staged the highly acclaimed Eurovision 2012 and will stage Volleyball at the European Games in 2015.

The media tour also included the Athletes Village, consisting of spacious, well-fitted apartments, which will provide a new standard of living and preparation for international athletes.

“The Baku 2015 organizers have placed the athletes at the forefront of preparations for these Games, and the well designed and serviced apartments and living areas in the Village are a testament to the thinking that has gone into providing the best conditions possible for the athletes at the first European Games in Baku in 2015,” said Patrick Hickey, IOC Executive Board member and president of the European Olympic Committees, which own and regulate the event.

The media tour provided a glimpse into the unique Games experience being planned in Baku for the continent’s first major pan-European multi-sport event, which is expected to involve more than 5,400 competitors from the 49 Olympic nations of Europe across 18 sports and will be staged every four years.

The tour, which also included viewings of the Baku Sports Hall, Freedom Square, the Gymnastics Arena, and Olympic Stadium, highlighted the highly advanced state of preparation and construction of sports venues for the Games.

“We have an excellent mix of new, existing and temporary venues and structures for the Games, and preparations for many of the 21 stadia and facilities are well advanced. This will enable us to focus on testing and fine tuning the stadiums and sports centres in the months ahead to ensure we have high performing venues for the athletes at Games time,” said Azerbaijan Youth and Sports Minister, Azad Rahimov, who is leading the planning for the sporting spectacle.

The venue locations also revealed how organizers are planning to integrate the city’s dramatic, award-winning architectural landmarks and public spaces including the soaring Flame Towers, and waterfront settings to create a unique atmosphere inside and outside the venues and across Baku.

The Azerbaijan Government is investing in extensive preparations across Baku to launch the European Games as a major event in the international sporting calendar, including a new airport terminal, transport projects, including upgrades to the underground and bus systems, and many other infrastructure and city enhancement projects.

“We recently celebrated our 600 days to the Games milestone, and we hope visitors to Baku can start to feel the excitement and energy that is building as the city and continent continue the countdown to the first European Games,” Jim Scherr, Chief Operating Officer of the Baku 2015 European Games Operating Committee, said.

Baku is the largest city on the Caspian Sea with a population of over 2,5 million. Once an important staging post on the Silk Road, it sits at the crossroads between Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Today, Baku combines modern, award winning architecture with an Old City that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Azerbaijan is a multicultural society with a tradition of tolerance and warm hospitality.

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