Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 29
Legendary Russian ice hockey star and two-time Olympic champion, Mr Viacheslav Fetisov, today praised the progress of preparations for the inaugural European Games and the city's state-of-the-art sports venues after a visit to the Baku 2015 headquarters.
Mr Fetisov, 56, captained and then coached his country during a stellar sports career and was also one of the first European players to play in America's National Hockey League (NHL). Following his career on the ice, he served as Russia's Minister of Sport between 2002 and 2008 and played a prominent role in Sochi's successful bid for the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
"I have been extremely impressed with the Baku 2015 project and the team driving it," Mr Fetisov, who also won seven world championships between 1978 and 1990, said. "Today, I've seen all the signs that these will be a great Games."
"Athletes need the same things irrespective of their sport to ensure that they can focus on doing what they do best," he said. "From the accommodation, to the training complexes and the Games venues, it is clear that Baku 2015 have made athletes' needs and welfare a priority factor in all of its planning. Team Russia's athletes can expect a warm welcome and the perfect conditions to hit peak performance when they arrive here in June 2015."
"It has been a pleasure to introduce Mr. Fetisov to Baku 2015," Mr. Simon Clegg, Chief Operating Officer of Baku 2015, said. "His stamp of approval is particularly pleasing given his role as Russia's former Minister of Sport and his involvement in the successful Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games."
"With just 256 days to go to the Opening Ceremony, the excitement is noticeably rising across the city and I have no doubt Baku 2015 will be a true festival of sport for Azerbaijan and for the whole of Europe," he said.
Last week, Baku 2015 signed two new Official Partners in Azerbaijan Airlines and the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), taking the number of Official Partners to six.
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.