Baku, Azerbaijan, May 25
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:
Preparation for the first European Games Baku 2015 goes according to schedule, Minister of Youth and Sport of Azerbaijan Azad Rahimov told EurActiv website in an exclusive interview.
He said that the sport venues and hotels are ready.
"The only work that is still going on is temporary construction, like the special tents for security-checking, for the generators, and IT technology," Rahimov said. "This work will continue until the last day, but that's normal."
The minister said the European Games would be a very good chance for all the participating countries to show their strengths, because it's the top of the top of the career of any athlete to participate in Olympic games, a chance that sometimes happens only once.
Rahimov also said that sport is not politics and that one should not be pushed unto another. But sport events are attracting the attention of a lot of people, he said.
He went on to add that different organizations, mostly NGOs, are trying to bring attention to certain problems they have identified.
"This happened not only vis-a-vis Russia in Sochi [in 2014], or with China during the Beijing Olympics  over Tibet," he said. "Even in the case of the London Olympics , there were a lot of protests regarding the destruction of buildings, of moving of people from their homes."
"The process is I would say normal, but the calls to boycott the games are not smart, because the games are a very good [opportunity] to unite the peoples," according to Rahimov. "It's a festival of the friendship, and it's a festival of people gathering together. It's a good promotion of the healthy lifestyle, of sport."
He said that 50 countries confirmed their participation in the games.
"Yes, Armenia is also coming and Armenian television bought rights to show the games," said the minister.
"Not a single country has ever discussed the possibility of boycotting or not coming to the games," he said. "Approximately 6,200 athletes will be coming. 3,000 members of the delegations will be accompanying the athletes."
Baku 2015 is the first-ever European Games, an exciting and innovative multi-sport event for the continent that 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 CN