TOC

A New Model


The Republic of Azerbaijan, as the host of the
inaugural European Games in Baku in 2015, is a
country that is beginning to make a big impact
on the sports industry. Azad Rahimov,
Minister for Youth and Sport of the Republic of
Azerbaijan and Chief Executive Officer of
the Baku European Games Operation Commit-
tee, spoke to #SAC2014 – The Review about
the country’s plans.

#SAC2014 – The Review:

In an interview in The Daily, the official newspaper of SportAccord Convention, you mentioned the aim of creating a model for future Games hosts. How are you coming up with this model?

Azad Rahimov:

“Our mission is to deliver an innovative and historic Games that will unite the people of Europe in a joyous celebration of sport. The European Olympic Committees have long had the vision of a continental Games for Europe. We are proud that they chose to entrust the delivery of this unique project to Azerbaijan when the Games were awarded to Baku.

“The EOC vision, and our ambition, is to create a transferable and sustainable model for future Games which can be implemented in other European cities. At the same time, we want to maximise the opportunity to showcase Azerbaijan as a modern European nation. We are working together to deliver the Games. Innovation has been the hallmark of our preparations. We have focused on delivering world-class venues, elite sporting action and a new standard in athlete accommodation.

“Everything that we do is focused on ensuring the first ever European Games have the best interests of the athletes at heart. The Baku 2015 European Games will be a Games like no other, for athletes and fans. We are creating history. The inaugural European Games is a first for Azerbaijan and Europe and will become a major event on the international sporting calendar.”

#SAC2014 – The Review:

What does the model include?

Azad Rahimov:

“The historic Baku 2015 European Games will involve 6,000 athletes from all 49 Olympic nations of Europe competing in 19 sports. Athletics, cycling, shooting, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon and beach volleyball have already been confirmed as qualifying events for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The Baku 2015 European Games will break new ground as the first continental Games fully to integrate a para-discipline into its sports programme. Visually-impaired judo will be included with a +100 kilogramme category for men and a -48 kilogramme category for women.

“This is a shining example of our commitment to create a Games like never before. The inclusion of non-Olympic disciplines like 3x3 basketball, beach soccer, acrobatic and aerobic gymnastics and karate are also part of the model. Athletes will compete in 20 new or refurbished facilities including newly-built venues for gymnastics, BMX, aquatics and shooting. We are also completing a purpose-built 65,000-capacity stadium to host the athletics competition and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

“The Games and these facilities will provide a lasting legacy for the people of Azerbaijan, inspiring young people to participate and compete in sport, while further establishing our country as a genuine centre of sporting excellence.”

#SAC2014 – The Review:

How are you looking to pass on this model and communicate it to future hosts?

Azad Rahimov:

“Our ambition is to create a transferable and sustainable model for future Games which can be implemented in other European cities. We are intent on setting new standards to help lead by example for future host cities. We are confident that the model that we are developing for the Baku 2015 European Games will stand the test of time.

“One of our aims has been to develop new and more efficient working processes and more skills, jobs and commercial knowledge in major event management amongst our workforce. Another objective is to increase expertise levels across a wide range of sectors that are involved in providing goods and services for the Games.

“We are intent on developing a solid base of knowledge, skills and expertise further to enhance Azerbaijan’s reputation as a dynamic destination in Europe for sports, business, tourism and culture. This innovative approach is one that can be easily adopted and replicated by future host cities. We are also delivering a comprehensive communications strategy to raise awareness of the Baku 2015 European Games among stakeholders; to showcase the progress that is being made to host this historic event, and to demonstrate how other cities can learn from our ambitious approach.”

#SAC2014 – The Review:

What sort of legacy will the European Games have for the people of Azerbaijan?

Azad Rahimov:

“The Baku 2015 European Games has an important and integral role to play in our vision for the future development of Azerbaijan. It presents opportunities to establish our country as a genuine centre of sporting excellence; to use the first European Games as a catalyst for change in Baku and Azerbaijan; to build a real legacy, and to use sport to help improve the lives of people across the land.

“The recruitment systems that we are developing will ensure great leadership for our individual sports and a resulting legacy of experienced leaders for future events in Azerbaijan. We aim to recruit 10,000 highly trained, enthusiastic volunteers to help host the European Games. We are not only constructing new sports venues and renovating existing facilities, but also investing heavily in numerous transport projects that will be ready in time for the Games, including upgrades to the metro and bus networks.

“The new international airport in Baku will have major tourism, trade and economic benefits. We are improving the entire aviation infrastructure and also enhancing flight schedules. President IIham Aliyev has also announced a project to restore Lake Boyukshor as part of the road planning and infrastructure for the Games.”

#SAC2014 – The Review:

For those interested in Baku 2015 and Azerbaijan as a sports event host, how can they find out more?

Azad Rahimov:

“The official website www.baku2015.com provides a wealth of information on all matters concerning the inaugural Baku 2015 European Games and is regularly updated with all the latest news and information.

“Azerbaijan’s ambition to continue to attract the world’s biggest sporting events to our country is shared by all Government departments. We share a common goal and the doors to our Ministers and officials are always open for discussions with any event rights holder.“

Azad Rahimov

“I am always
interested to listen to
new ideas and to
explore how we can
work in partnership
with people to
welcome new events
to Azerbaijan and
Baku.”

#SAC2014 – The Review:

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Azad Rahimov:

“I would like to extend a warm and open invitation to sports fans across Europe and worldwide to visit Azerbaijan and join us as part of the historic European Games in Baku. The countdown to the Opening Ceremony is truly underway and in just 14 months’ time, Baku will raise the curtain on what is certain to be a spectacular and inspirational sporting event. I would also invite people to discover more about the European Games at our website www.baku2015.com where they can keep up to date on all preparations and progress as we continue to look forward to Baku 2015.”

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