Baku, Azerbaijan, May 19
By Jamila Aliyeva - Trend:
Finland has always highly valued sports and the possibility of joining people around a peaceful competition, Christer Mickelson, Finnish Foreign Ministry's special representative for the South Caucasus told Trend.
"I am ambassador of a country, which prides it to have been "run into the map of the world" (in the Stockholm Olympics in 1912, when the long distance runner Hannes Kolehmainen won several competitions) already before independence as a grand duchy of Russia with its own team of athletes," he said.
"Therefore, I congratulate Azerbaijan for being the host of the First European Games," Mickelson added.
"Personally I think it is only natural that also in Europe, there would be continent-wide games in the Olympic format," he said. "The pan-American games and Asian games are already well known concepts."
Mickelson said that the games give visibility to the host country and therefore, they are a great opportunity for Azerbaijan to show hospitality and promote itself.
"As I am not permanently in Baku, but arrive from time to time by air, I have had good opportunity to see how the building of the Olympic stadium has progressed," he said. "I very much hope and trust that everything will go just as planned."
Mickelson added that a great number of athletes from Finland will participate in the First European Games.
Baku 2015 is the first ever European Games, an exciting and innovative multi-sport event for the continent which will take place on June 12-28, 2015.
There will be a total of 20 sports at Baku 2015: 16 Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports. More than 6,000 athletes from across Europe will be representing their nations over 17 days of competition.
Baku was awarded the games by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in December 2012.
Edited by SI