Baku, Azerbaijan, March 3
By Aygun Badalova, Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:
The torch ceremony of the first European Games will start on April 25 and visit 51 cities of Azerbaijan, Baku 2015 Sport Director Pierce O'Callaghan said during a press conference in Baku on Mar.3.
"For 50 years, European Olympic Committee was trying to establish European Games and Azerbaijan is taking on a huge responsibility," he said. "It normally takes seven years to plan Olympic Games. But Azerbaijan has done this in just over two years."
O'Callaghan added that the citizens of Azerbaijan can be very proud of the country's achievements, of the country's President Ilham Aliyev, of the First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva who is the head of the Organizing Committee.
Furthermore, he said that the European Olympic Committee needs to train 10,000 volunteers.
"Our transport team has already trained over 2,000 drivers," he said. "This is the first time in the history when sport teams, all the officials and spectators will have official drivers. It will be professional drivers."
O'Callaghan went on to add that the start of ticket sales for the First European Games in March will be an important step.
Further speaking, he said the talks with several TV channels that will broadcast the Games are at the final stage. He said agreements have already been signed with most of the European, as well as Chinese, North and Central American broadcasters.
"We have trained judges and referees across all the sports and over 600 referees from Azerbaijan will receive qualification," he said.
O'Callaghan said that on April 1 the entries will be open for submitting applications for registration of the delegations' composition.
He said that 300 sportsmen are expected to represent Azerbaijan, adding that this "will be the biggest team in Azerbaijani sports history."
Furthermore, he said that the athlete village will be open on June 1.
A huge routes network and the new road on the side of the National Olympic stadium have been created, according to O'Callaghan. "The athletes will be exactly transported from the athletes' village to venues."
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.