Closing ceremony of first European Games shows Baku’s closeness to Europe (UPDATE)

details added (first version posted at 17:09)

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 29

By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

The closing ceremony of the first European Games in Baku showed joy filled hearts of Azerbaijani citizens, Azerbaijani Youth and Sports Minister Azad Rahimov said at the press conference June 29.

"It showed that Azerbaijani people want to be closer to the world," he said. "The ceremony also showed Europe's closeness to Baku and Baku's closeness to Europe."

"I did not expect that our team could rank second in the overall team standings," he said. "We have 56 medals. Our athletes have contributed to the history of the country's sports."

Rahimov expects that Azerbaijan will host a lot of major sporting events, which would please and unite people.

"The strongest athletes participated in the European Games," he said. "Some 12 of 16 (Olympic) kinds of sports were qualifying in nature. This is a great opportunity for the athletes. Nobody wants to lose it. The strongest athletes participated in these 12 kinds of sports."

More than 100 Olympic champions and world champions participated in the European Games.

He said that some 100 million manat were allocated from the budget for the opening and closing ceremonies of the European Games.

"But I think that this amount will be smaller in the final calculation of the total expenditure," he said. "Baku 2015 budget is 960 million manat. And we have not gone beyond this amount."

"Some 1,248 media representatives were accredited to cover the European Games," he said. "Some 665 of them are local journalists, 583 - foreign."

"Some 4,859 people attended i-zone (press zone) daily," the minister said. "Some 61 TV channels from 145 countries broadcast the games."

"The opening ceremony was broadcast in 120 countries," the minister said

The European Games kicked off in Baku June 12 and ended June 28. There was a total of 20 sports at Baku 2015: 16 Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports.

More than 6,000 athletes from across Europe represented their nations over 17 days of competition.

Edited by CN

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follow the author on Twitter: @AygunBadalova

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