Azerbaijani sportsmen demonstrated excellent results, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stated on Friday while addressing at the National Olympic Committee, AzerTaj state news agency reported.
"2009 is the first year following the Olympic Games. After the Olympic Games sportsmen are usually declined to a tendency of calming, and it is natural. The preference is given to rest. Nevertheless, in 2009 our sportsmen demonstrated brilliant results," the head of state said.
According to Aliyev, over 600 medals were gained at all international tournaments and almost half of them are gold. Four Azerbaijani sportsmen managed to take the top place at the world championships on Olympic type of sports and it is a remarkable indicator.
"Our wrestling team ranked the top place in the team competition at the World Championship. It is also a historic victory, a great achievement. If to consider that the wrestling is very popular sport in the world and the competitions are attended by athletes representing more than 100 countries, this is really a great and historic victory. Our young chess players were able to gain the first place at the European Championship. This testifies the intellectual potential of Azerbaijan, and it is notable that all of our chess players are young. As citizens and sportsmen, they formed during the years of independence. Historic victories were gained in other sports, including rowing. For the first time, we have a world champion in rowing. Large work is carried out in Azerbaijan to develop this type of sport," said Ilham Aliyev.
In particular, an International Olympic base "Kur" is being built and perhaps, this big, grandiose facility will be opened next year, the president said. "We have made successes in all other types of sport - it is difficult to enumerate all. In the past, our successes were limited to the victories of athletes representing one or two types of sport. But today we have so much successes at world and European championships that a long time is necessary to enumerate all types of sport," said the president.
Of course, the Azerbaijani public is aware of these successes, since the sport in Azerbaijan is traditionally on the focus of attention," Aliyev said. According to the president, television, media outlets widely cover sport events. At the same time, the sport is an integral part of our lives, an important factor of public life in Azerbaijan.
"I am confident that over the coming years, constant attention will be paid to sport and sportsmen, they will be cared by both state, as well as sports associations, clubs and federations. All sports organizations in Azerbaijan have established their activities coordinated, and I think that this is the main guarantee of our success. We watch the international events and we know that there are disagreements, contradictions, confrontation between the Olympic committees, ministries and federations in many countries. But in Azerbaijan, all organizations responsible for sport - Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Youth and Sports, federations, clubs, sports associations - are working as a team. This makes our success. In short, 2009 was a very important year for promoting the sport glory of Azerbaijan," said President Ilham Aliyev.
"Juniors also made us glad in 2009. I want to emphasize our young judokas. Although being in a very complicated psychological situation, they returned home from the European Judo Championship with a big victory. Especially if to take into consideration that these events took place in Yerevan, then, of course, it is easy to understand that great responsibility fell on our sportsmen. It was not an ordinary contest. Azerbaijani sportsmen participated in competitions in Armenia for the first time and were very successful. Five Azerbaijani sportsmen participated at the European Championship, and all of them brought medals to the Motherland, all of them raised the national flag of Azerbaijan in Yerevan. At the same time, the national anthem of Azerbaijan was again voiced in Yerevan. This is a great heroism, great historical achievement. This is a victory, the triumph of the Azerbaijani sport, Azerbaijani youth, Azerbaijani state," said the president of Azerbaijan.
This indicates that the development of sport continues very carefully in Azerbaijan, the president said. The sportsmen who participate in competitions among adults improve their professionalism, the successes of Azerbaijan increases every year. At the same time, a strong and professional young generation is growing up in Azerbaijan. "Our sportsmen achieve great victories in various international competitions amongst young people. This testifies that in Azerbaijan the issues related to the development of sports are solved accurately. Otherwise, our successes in competitions amongst young people would not be so impressive," said Ilham Aliyev.
At the same time, Azerbaijan takes great care about sport veterans. "The sportsmen know that if they obtain great results, as veteran they will always be surrounded by care and attention of state in future. And it is very important because sports life is not so long. They spend their abilities and opportunities on raising the glory of Azerbaijani sport, and after retiring from the sport, we must take constant care about them. Today, I noted our winners, the young, and I want to note veterans as well. This year, our outstanding sportsman Namik Abdullayev retired from sport. His contribution as a sportsman to the sports glory of Azerbaijan is very valuable and very expensive," said the head of state.
According to the president, everyone remembers that during the Olympic Games in Sydney, Namik and Zemfira brought two gold medals to Azerbaijan. "Gaining two Olympic gold medals then and even now is a great victory, especially in those years when the development, fundamental development of sport in Azerbaijan was in its infancy. Those victories have had a tremendous impact on the expansion of sports opportunities in Azerbaijan. We all remember how the flow of children to sports clubs increased after that victory, the interest in sport rose. Azerbaijan is proud of its sporting victories. So, this year we should mention both sportsmen who have achieved victory, and those sportsmen who retire from sports. I am very glad that Namik continues his activities at the Wrestling Federation. Of course, his experience and the experience of all sport veterans are very important for the formation of the young generation," said Ilham Aliyev.
At the same time, the process of creating excellent conditions for sports continues in Azerbaijan. "This morning I attended the opening of the new Olympic sports complex in Shagan settlement. It has become a good tradition. Over 20, about 30 Olympic complexes operate in Azerbaijan. Five Olympic sports complexes were put into operation this year. At least five Olympic complexes will be opened next year. The global financial crisis has not bypassed Azerbaijan. However, those that have been done in Azerbaijan up to now, held reforms protected us from many difficulties. Our thoughtful policies and steps taken in 2009 created such conditions that vast majority of our population did not feel the crisis. But it is not secret that the financial opportunities of our country, of course, limited, since the economic problems, the events that took place in the world affected Azerbaijan as well. Despite this, all social and infrastructure projects have been successfully realized, as well as five new Olympic sports facilities have been created in Azerbaijan. These processes will continue over the next years. During the next years, we must maximally strive to create good opportunities and good conditions for sports in each region of Azerbaijan. We see the results of this work. Involvement in sports is growing, people improve their health, as well as the talented young people in many regions gain an opportunity to engage in sports," said the president of Azerbaijan.
So, the sports facilities in Azerbaijan will develop in future as well, the president said. "Already an excellent tradition has created like successful results of our sportsmen and conducting international sports competitions in our country. Creating sports infrastructure, the successful activities of federations, all sports associations, the process of involving children and adolescents in sport is necessary not only for sports, but also for our country because our people, our citizens must be healthy. Different measures are taken to ensure the health of people. Diagnostic and treatment centers, providing free treatment and examination services, are being built in all the regions. Each time at the opening of diagnostic centers, I appeal to people living in those regions, tell them that every person should pass annual check-up, especially now, when the equipment in regions of Azerbaijan corresponds to the equipment, which are used at the leading hospitals of the world," said Ilham Aliyev.
A complex of measures is taken to preserve human health. "Sports takes its role among them. Ecological measures are also strengthened. The next year has been announced a Year of Ecology in Azerbaijan. I m sure much work will be done in the country next year to improve the ecology. Indeed, the work will not be limited just with the next year. We should pay much attention to it [ecology] in the subsequent years," the president said.
"Sports means health and healthy lifestyle. It glorifies the nations and testifies for their general development. If to consider that results of international sports tournaments, one can get assured in the majority cases the sportsmen from the developed countries, where sport is supported by the state, achieve successes. Azerbaijan will become a developed country. We are on this path and are going inn this way. All actions are taken to make Azerbaijan a developed country. State of care of sports is very high in Azerbaijan. The sportsmen also see it. International sport organizations also state about it, mentioning frequently Azerbaijan's experience as an example. I am sure that the role of sports in Azerbaijan's social life will increase. We have outstanding sportsmen and wonderful youth. We are optimistic for the future. Sports play an immense and invaluable role in bringing up Azerbaijani youth in the patriotic spirit," the head of state said.
On the eve of holiday the Azerbaijani president congratulated all sportsmen with victories taken in 2009. "I want to congratulate the sport specialists, trainers, the sports community in connection with their successes and upcoming holiday - the Solidarity Day of World Azerbaijanis and the New Year. I want to wish sportsmen new achievements in the New Year. I want to assure the sport community once more that I will further attach great importance to issues related to sports and continue my efforts directed development of sports and Olympic movement in Azerbaijan," Azerbaijani President Ihlam Aliyev stated.
During the ceremony the sportsmen presented their gifts to the President. The head of state received as a present a sample of National Leader Heydar Aliyev's bas-relief, which Azerbaijani mountain climbers installed on the heights they attained in different regions worldwide.
Member of the National Olympic Committee Executive Committee, chairman of the Azerbaijani Society Book Zarifa Salahova congratulated President Aliyev on his birthday behalf of the sports community. The President was awarded a special Gold Medal N1, established by the International Federation of Universal Wrestling.
Later the sportsmen awarded on the results of 2009.
Sportsmen with special merits in the development of non-Olympic types of sports were awarded special honorary diplomas, established this year by National Olympic Committee. The head of state awarded Olympia order to Seoul Olympic winner Ilgar Mammadov. A group of sportsmen and trainers were awarded orders for new apartments during the ceremony.
Azerbaijani sportsmen achieve excellent results in 2009: president