Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept.23
The President of the European Olympic Committees Mr Patrick Hickey concluded his latest visit to Baku on Sunday 21 September and was updated on latest progress by the Baku 2015 European Games Operations Committee.
President Hickey was received by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to discuss preparations for next summer's inaugural European Games, Baku 2015 European Games Operations Committee (BEGOC) told Trend Sept. 23.
President Hickey was a special guest at the signing ceremony alongside Minister Azad Rahimov, Baku 2015 Chief Executive Officer, as the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) was announced as an Official Partner of the European Games.
"To see the significant progress made in recent months by the Baku 2015 team was extremely encouraging, and it was a valuable opportunity to receive an extended update on the developed and improved sports programme," Mr Hickey, a member of the International Olympic Committee's Executive Board and President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, said.
"I am more than confident that Baku 2015 will fulfil our vision of an innovative and sustainable first edition of the European Games, which will set the standard for multi-sport events the world over," he said.
"I would like to thank Minister Azad Rahimov, Chief Operating Officer Simon Clegg and the entire Baku 2015 European Games team for their time and their warm welcome once more in Azerbaijan," he said.
President Hickey visited the organisation's new headquarters and viewed the new terminal at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport.
At the signing of the SOCAR announcement, Mr Hickey also gave a speech to the international media where he explained the European Olympic Committees' vision for the continent's inaugural multi-sport event and the lasting benefits for Azerbaijan in hosting the European Games.
"It is always an honour to have President Hickey visit and this was another useful opportunity to update him on all of our plans," Mr Simon Clegg, Chief Operating Officer of Baku 2015, said.
"It is reassuring that the EOC President is confident with our progress," he said. "As we move towards inaugural European Games, his vision and guidance will inspire our entire team towards delivering an event that we believe will make all of Europe proud."
Baku 2015 is the first ever European Games, an exciting and innovative multi-sport event for the continent which will take place from 12 - 28 June 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.
Nine of the sports will offer qualification opportunities for the Rio Summer Olympic Games in 2016. Those sports include Archery, Athletics, Cycling, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Triathlon and Volleyball.
Baku was awarded the Games by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in December 2012. The Baku European Games Operations Committee (BEGOC) will organise and run the Games in co-operation with the EOC.