After opening the Olympic sports training center Kur, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met with people of Mingachevir, west Azerbaijan, AzerTaj state news agency reported.
Addressing the residents of Mingachevir, President Aliyev congratulated them with the opening of this beautiful Olympic sports base Kur. "You know that this base has a very long history. Much work was done to build and equip it with modern amenities in 1970s at the initiative of Great Leader Heydar Aliyev. Mingachevir became the center of rowing in the Soviet Union," he said.
"Residents of Mingachevir well remember those years when there were various competitions. Rowers arrived from all Soviet republics, i.e, this base had significance for the development of the city. However, we could not effectively use this base from late 1980s until late 1990s. Our citizens, who were driven out from their lands as a result of Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, were stationed here.
I was here several times and acquainted with the situation in 1990s. That time I, as the president of the National Olympic Committee, was eager to restore these places and create a base of a high level. But then, we have limited opportunities. Firstly, we were to resettle our compatriots stationed here at that time. We have achieved this and provided them with good conditions. Afterwards, design work was carried out," he said.
The President said that construction of the base was launched three years ago. Today it is the world-class sports center and a tourist center. "Today I got acquainted with all facilities created here. Despite I repeatedly was here, I see once again that the highest standards were applied on this base. A beautiful hotel, gyms, and a swimming pool were built here. All the necessary equipment for rowing was installed.
This is a sports and tourist center. I hope that people, especially our sportsmen, will take advantage of these opportunities efficiently. We are waiting for guests from abroad. Mingachevir must become an international tourist center. There are all opportunities for this, including beautiful nature, clean air, climate, and natural conditions. The roads are being laid now. The road, which will connect Baku with Mingachevir, is being built. The Ganja airport is operating. That is Mingachevir must become a tourist center, " President Aliyev said.
He said that tourist centers are being established in various regions of Azerbaijan. "Each of them has its own natural conditions. Our beautiful sea, mountains, rivers, springs and nice hotel complexes created in regions accelerate this process. All conditions, especially for sports, were created here. Rowing is developing in Azerbaijan. Our rowers already show good results at world and European championships, rank first at the world championships.
Azerbaijan has never had this. The work, recently conducted in rowing and sudden change allow Azerbaijan to hold leading positions in sports. Our team, including youth and junior take part in various competitions. Azerbaijan is already a sporting power. Everybody knows it. However, rowing was not sufficiently developed in the Soviet period. Today we see that this kind of sport is developing in Azerbaijan. Not only infrastructure is being created, but the professionalism of sportsmen is growing. Coaches are invited from abroad. I am confident that our rowers will represent Azerbaijan with dignity at the upcoming Olympic Games, " President Aliyev said.
Regarding the development of sport, in general, he said that the sport in Azerbaijan is developing very rapidly. "We were able to achieve great success in this sphere. Azerbaijani national flag is raised at the Olympic Games, World and European championships in honor of our sportsmen. It makes us feel very proud. I would like all kinds of sports to be developed in Azerbaijan. We see that we have already had these achievements. I am very happy that our football players, finally, pleased us after a long break. We believed in them.
Our team is young. It demonstrates great persistence. Certainly, we should work much over professionalism. But we are happy and we see that our national team and clubs show a decent game at international competitions. They play with dignity. I am sure that the victory gained the day before yesterday will much more inspire us. I am confident that football in Azerbaijan will also gain higher peaks. Time and patience are required for this. I am confident that our football players will please fans at every game in a few years," the president said.
"In a word, Azerbaijan holds leading positions in sports in the world. Our young sportsmen, teenagers, children show good results. Azerbaijan was among the developed countries at the recent first Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. Azerbaijan entered the top ten. This is a historic victory. This testifies that our sportsmen have been showing good results since childhood. The infrastructure created in the country, the Olympic complexes and gyms in each region, the care and attention demonstrated by the state for the sport provide these realities.
The efforts of those involved in sports, professionalism of sportsmen, organizations responsible for sport - the Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, federations, clubs, sports associations serve one purpose. Today at the opening of this beautiful tourist and sports center, I once again convinced that Azerbaijan has great opportunities and potential. Both you and me well remember this area. In what condition were they?! But now there are beautiful parks and alleys. How beautiful is Mingachevir! I was in Mingachevir last year, previous years and before 2003. The city is fully modernized. It has improved. Great creative work, landscaping, is being done. Parks and alleys are being laid. The buildings are being repaired. That is, Mingachevir became very modern, beautiful city. It pleased me very much. I would like each our city to be distinguished with its beauty.
I would like to stress once again that Mingachevir has nice air, climatic conditions. But industrial enterprises are being built here at the same time. Mingachevir is not only the city of power engineering specialists, but also an industrial town, a center of culture. A chess school, social facilities, schools were built here. A road is being laid. All this will contrinite to the development of Mingachevir. I would like to congratulate you, people living here, with this success. I wish you new successes. I would like to say that I will always pay attention to Mingechevir. Additional measures will be taken to develop the city. Once again I congratulate you," President Aliyev said.
A resident of Mingachevir Eyyub Hasanov remarked national leader Heydar Aliyev's merits in the development of Mingachevir. On behalf of residents of Mingachevir, he thanked Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev for his attention and care of Mingachevir.
The President also met with sportsmen and head coach of the Azerbaijani National Rowing Federation Rudiger Hauffe.
Azerbaijani First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva was photographed with women residing in Mingachevir.
President Aliyev and his wife took photos with the participants of the event.