Official opening ceremony of first European Games begins in Baku (PHOTO, VIDEO)
Baku, Azerbaijan, June 12
The official opening ceremony of the European Games, first on the continent, has kicked off in Baku June 12.
The ceremony is being attended by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, First Lady, Chair of Baku 2015 First European Games Organizing Committee Mehriban Aliyeva, official representatives of various countries, including President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mladen Ivanic, Grand Duke of Luxembourg Henri, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili, Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov, Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Mosaad Abdulaziz, President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach, ISESCO Director General Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, as well as high ranking officials from San-Marino, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Islamic Republic of Iran, Ukraine, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and other countries, outstanding public, political and sports figures.
As many as 68,000 spectators have gathered on Baku Olympic Stadium. Over 300 creative groups from 28 countries and 1,000 people from 34 countries were involved in the organization of the ceremony.
Two-time Paralympic champion, two-time world champion, five-time European champion Ilham Zakiyev brought the flame of the First European Games to Baku Olympic Stadium. He was accompanied by taekwondo medalist at the Youth Olympic Games Said Guliyev.
The Baku 2015 European Games will last till June 28.
More than 6,000 athletes from across Europe will be representing their nations over 17 days of competition.