President: Azerbaijan hopes athletes will represent country worthily in this competition and raise its flag (PHOTO)

President: Azerbaijan hopes athletes will represent country worthily in this competition and raise its flag (PHOTO)

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 30 / Trend/

The "Day of Azerbaijan" has been held within the framework of the 30th Summer Olympic Games in London. The ceremony was attended by President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva.

The ceremony participants warmly welcomed the President of Azerbaijan and his wife.

The head of state delivered a speech at the ceremony.

"Azerbaijan as an independent country has been participating in the Summer Olympics for the fifth time and each time we have made a step forward. We won the first medal in 1996 in Atlanta. Our team was able to win only one gold medal then. Then, in 2000 in Sydney, we won three medals, five in 2004 in Athens and seven in 2008 in Beijing. Of course, we all want to see this tradition continued. We all hope that our athletes will represent the country worthily in this competition and raise our flag," President Aliyev said.

He wished success and happiness to all the athletes of the world.

"Azerbaijan is a country with a rich history, great traditions and customs. But we have been an independent country for only 20 years. These years have been a period of change and reform. These years have shown that Azerbaijan is developing successfully as an independent country. Our successes were made possible thanks to the talent of our people. Twenty years ago we did not have our own state, democratic institutions and a market economy. Today, Azerbaijan is a country with a strong position in the region, our state is very strong. We are committed to democratic reforms and market economy. One of our biggest achievements in the 20 years has been Azerbaijan's election as a member of the UN Security Council. The world's top international organization currently operates with our participation. The fact that our candidacy was supported by 155 countries of the word truly shows that we have attracted the attention of the world, established friendship and mutual trust over these 20 years with many countries," President Aliyev said in his speech.

He stressed that today Azerbaijan enjoys great respect, our country plays a role not only in regional but also global affairs.

"We have invested a lot in the creation of a modern sports infrastructure. Over the past 12 years 34 Olympic Centers have been built and commissioned across the country, and this process is ongoing. This year is the Year of Sport in Azerbaijan, which is another indication of the attention we are paying to the development of sports and the Olympic movement. We are proud to take part in these Olympic Games with a team of 53 athletes - the biggest in our history so far. It also shows that the investment we have made in sports, our public policies aimed at promoting sports and the Olympic movement are yielding good results. I am confident that we will perform successfully at these games. This competition will be another opportunity to introduce ourselves. You will see a small presentation about our achievements today - it will feature some photos, a video presentation about the development of our country. I am sure that most of the attending people have already been to Azerbaijan. And I would like to invite those of you who haven't been to Azerbaijan to visit our country," President Aliyev said.

He also stressed that sport and the Olympic movement are part of his life.

"I am proud to say that I have been a member of the Olympic family for 15 years now. Fifteen years ago I was elected President of the National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan. Six years later I was elected President of Azerbaijan. So I usually say that I represent sport and the Olympic movement at the level of government. These years have been the years progress, change, development, dedication to our cause. Being a sportsman in Azerbaijan means a lot today. We have a government policy on the development of sports and care about athletes. We have invested heavily in the modern sports infrastructure. Azerbaijan hosts various international sporting events, including European and world championships. I am sure that the number of our guests, including athletes and tourists, will further increase in the future and our friendship and cooperation will be continued," President Aliyev underlined.

Stressing that Olympic Games are a unique international event, the President said it is a time when people from all over the world get together, athletes compete in a spirit of fairness and partnership, and this rivalry is limited to the sports arena. This is the biggest difference between sports and politics.

"We are very proud to participate in these Games. Once again, I wish the athletes of all the teams every success, and happiness and prosperity the people of the world," President Aliyev said.

The hall in which the ceremony was held was decorated with photo stands describing the culture and the history of sport in Azerbaijan. The big screen showed footage about the attention being paid at government level to the development of sport in Azerbaijan. Video images were also shown of the meetings of the President of Azerbaijan and of the National Olympic Committee, Ilham Aliyev, with sportsmen, opening ceremonies of various sports facilities in our country.

The officials and representatives of the international community invited to the "Day of Azerbaijan", in conversations with President Ilham Aliyev, praised the care and attention our country has paid to the development of sport and the Olympic movement. They approved of the development of this sphere as a major public policy priority. It was noted that the successes of the growing and economically developing Azerbaijan in this field were a great opportunity to promote Azerbaijan as a sporting nation.

During the ceremony, President Ilham Aliyev met with the athletes participating in the 30th Summer Olympic Games and wished them every success on the way to victory.

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