European Games to make Azerbaijan famous – French ambassador
Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 17
By Anahanum Khidayatova - Trend:
The first European Games to be held in Azerbaijan in 2015 will make the country better known and could attract new tourists in the future, French Ambassador to Azerbaijan Pascal Monnier told Trend Apr.17.
Azerbaijan's preparation for the European Games has been amazingly fast, he said.
"All venues are impressive," said Monnier. "The Olympic village can host 9,000 athletes. The opening and the closing ceremony will take place in a 66,000 seated arena."
The communication campaign carried out by the Baku European Games Operation Committee (BEGOC) will contribute to the attraction of all sport lovers from many parts of the world, the diplomat said.
The Games should be an important moment in the life of the city, he said.
Monnier went on to add that a lot of foreign athletes would participate alongside the Azerbaijani sport team.
"I guess the Games will offer to all of us a good opportunity to meet different people from different horizons, to share sport values: resilience and fair play and to participate in a joyful event and to enjoy the Azerbaijani art of hospitality," he said.
"A lot of foreign journalists are also expected," said the diplomat. "The figure of 1,200 people has been mentioned. That shows the interest gained by these first European Games."
Monnier said that the quite representative French team of 259 athletes (136 men and 123 women) would take part in the European Games, joined by some 135 technical staff.
"We expect between 500-600 French people if we include family members," he said. "The French team will take part in all disciplines except Basketball 3X3, Athletics and Beach Soccer. The French judoka team has already been announced and is very eager to participate in these games. The participation of our judoka champion, the famous Teddy Riner, has been confirmed."
The diplomat said that he has recently been to Mingachevir to look at the place where the canoe-kayak competition will take place.
"French team will be strong," he said. "I have been impressed by what has been done to host this competition, I also visited some factories, the huge hydro power station, the youth house, the Heydar Aliyev center and the college of tourism. I was happy to meet three French language teachers there."
Baku 2015 is the first-ever European Games, an exciting and innovative multi-sport event for the continent, which will take place on June 12-28, 2015.
There will be a total of 20 sports at Baku 2015: 16 Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports. More than 6,000 athletes from across Europe will be representing their nations over 17 days of competition. Baku was awarded the games by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in December 2012.
Edited by CN
Follow the author on Twitter: @Anahanum