Azerbaijan begins new chapter in Europe's sports history - first lady (VIDEO)
Baku, Azerbaijan, June 12
Azerbaijan's First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, who is also the Chairperson of the Baku 2015 Organising Committee, welcomed the participants and the spectators at the grand opening of the inaugural European Games in Baku on June 12.
"President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of the European Olympic Committee Patrick Hickey, President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach, European Games athletes, ladies and gentlemen, dear guests, welcome to Azerbaijan, welcome to the inaugural European Games," said the first lady of Azerbaijan.
"I sincerely congratulate the Azerbaijani people with the opening of the first European Games," she said.
The first lady said this grand celebration is the victory of independent Azerbaijan, every citizen of Azerbaijan.
"Today, here, a new page is being written in the European Olympic movement history in the beautiful city of Baku thanks to success and achievements that we gained during our independence," she said.
"We are writing this page. The people of Azerbaijan is writing this page! May God bless Azerbaijan at all times."
Mehriban Aliyeva said that tonight Azerbaijan began a new chapter in Europe's sports history.
"Azerbaijan is proud that the First European Games are being held in Baku," she said.
"At the sacred temple of Ateshgah the European Games flame was lit and traveled across our beautiful country, touching the heart of every Azerbaijani," she said.
The Azerbaijani first lady said the flame carried the message of celebration, inspiration and unity.
She further thanked the European Olympic Committees and its president Patrick Hickey for not only choosing Baku to host the first European Games, but also for support and assistance for organizing this memorable event.
"I would also like to welcome the President of the National Olympic Committee Thomas Bach and the members of Olympic family for their continuous support," she further said.
Mehriban Aliyeva noted that Azerbaijan is the country rich in history, culture, traditions, multiculturalism, tolerance, friendship and hospitality, harmony.
"This year we host the European Games, in 2017 we will host the Islamic Solidarity Games," she said, noting the importance of promoting dialogue among cultures.
She went on to mention that Azerbaijan is a young country in terms of independence, adding that in the last 24 years Azerbaijan went through progress, development and modernization.
"Azerbaijan's economic stability, sustainable development has allowed us to host such a big sports event," Mehriban Aliyeva said
The first lady reminded that it took Azerbaijan only 2,5 years to prepare for the event, and the country succeeded through dedication and hard work.
"I would like to thank all those who have brought their energy, commitment and passion, to make these games a reality," she said. "I would also like to thank all of our international partners, many local and international volunteers.
The first lady went on to say that on this night Azerbaijan welcomed some 6,000 of Europe's finest athletes.
"Dear athletes, these games are for you," Mehriban Aliyeva said. "You are the first participants. You will be the first champions of the European Games. The whole country of Azerbaijan has come together to support you. For 17 days, Baku will be your home."
"Tonight I stand here proud and moved by the people of our country, and by all that we have achieved," she said. "Thank you all for giving your hearts to these games".