Minister: Baku bid to host Olympics 2020 is far better than previous effort

Azerbaijan Materials 23 May 2012 12:33 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, May 23 / Trend E.Tariverdiyeva /

The bid by Baku to host the 2020 Olympic Games is a far better one than their previous effort for the 2016 edition as they have learnt from their mistakes, Azerbaijani sports minister Azad Rahimov told AFP.

On 23 May in Quebec the International Olympic Committee will decide who of the five candidates makes the shortlist for the final vote in Buenos Aires in September 2013. Madrid, Tokyo, Istanbul and Doha claim to host the Olympics besides Baku.

The minister said he was happy with the manner in which the Baku bid had been put together this time round.

"It is excellent the bid. It has been really carefully prepared to avoid the mistakes made in the previous bid for 2016. This is a higher quality bid. The country has changed a lot in the past four years. It is a new country with a new approach," he said.

Rahimov said that through a means of advertising Azerbaijan's culture and hosting important sports events (among them the 2011 world amateur boxing championships) Baku is opening the eyes of the IOC members to Azerbaijan.

The rapidity with which sports was developing in the country was a point in favour of Azerbaijan.

"There has been a billion dollars invested in the last 12 years in sports, infrastructure and other areas. In Beijing we were represented in 11 sports and four years later in London we will be represented in 16 sports which means that five new federations have been created in a short time," the minister said.

He said speed with which the building hosting this weekend's Eurovision Song Contest was built was a positive sign and a good signal to send out to the IOC.

"We are very proud to be hosting the competition," Rahimov said. "It shows how much the country has changed. I am so proud of the fact that the 25,000 seater hall where it is being held was built in just seven months."