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Baku 2015:

azerbaijan 31st EUROPEAN GAMES: 12 to 28th June 2015

Ambassador of Azerbaijan Mr Tahir Taghizadeh says there are no limits to what Azerbaijan can achieve when it comes to international sport

From 12 to 28 June 2015, Azerbaijan will welcome athletes, tourists and people from across Europe to the inaugural European Games in Baku. The Embassy of Azerbaijan in the UK has worked with Diplomat magazine to help readers understand the preparations for the Games, and what Azerbaijan has to offer tourists as a country of rich cultural heritage, with a modern, transformational society.

In December 2012, the European Olympic Committees awarded Baku the right to host the inaugural European Games. As the first country to host these Games, Azerbaijan has taken this huge responsibility very seriously. Over the past two years, state-of-the-art sports venues – including the Baku Olympic Stadium where the  opening and closing ceremonies will be performed – have been built across the city. The Baku European Games Organising Committee (BEGOC) has worked hard to ensure that the European Games are held to the highest professional standards. The European Games will undoubtedly bring benefits to Baku citizens, not only in the physical legacy of the venues, but also improved transport and road infrastructure. Its human legacy will be even greater and inspire the next generation of Azerbaijani sportsmen and women, increase interaction and exchange of experiences with European professionals, and create new job opportunities.

I am proud to say that in this endeavour Azerbaijan has been helped by over 200 British professionals, led by former Chairman of the British Olympic Association Simon Clegg, who have been working closely with their Azerbaijani counterparts to set the highest possible standards for the next European Games.

Situated at a crossroads of different civilisations, modern Azerbaijan offers a great deal in terms of cultural richness, further demonstrated in the capital’s staging of Baku 2015. Azerbaijan has now earned a reputation on the international stage as a good and reliable partner when it comes to staging major events. In recent years, the country hosted the women’s Under 17 FIFA World Cup, along with the European Song Contest. These large events have been accompanied by an impressive upgrade of Azerbaijan’s infrastructure, including new sports facilities, an improved road network and bolstered phone and online communications. Planning for the European Games is progressing hand-in-hand with the Islamic Solidarity Games, which will take place in Baku in 2017. Furthermore, a number of other important sporting events, including the international Chess Olympiad, Formula 1 and UEFA Euro 2020 matches will come to Baku over the next few years. There are no limits as to what Azerbaijan can achieve when it comes to international sport.

The country has also established itself as an important voice for dialogue between communities, and a place where different ethnicities and religions co-exist peacefully. This is why there is no better place than Baku to stage the first European Games. I’d like to take this opportunity to invite you all to Azerbaijan for Baku 2015. This international sporting event is likely to be a game-changer for both the country and the region.

“Baku 2015 is an opportunity for us to present our country. We plan to organise these Games to the highest possible standards…We are eager to show the world just how much more we can achieve”

 Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev


THE SKY IS THE LIMIT: Venetia van Kuffeler says the first European Games represents Azerbaijan᾽s desire to become part of something bigger… the European family

On 12 June, the curtain will raise on the first European Games in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku. The European Games were created at the General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees on 9 December 2012 in Rome when 84 per cent of the National Olympic Committees of Europe voted for the creation of the European Games. A multi-sport event for athletes from all over Europe, the European Games will be held every four years, and Baku was named as the first host city. The Games are owned, organised and regulated by the European Olympic Committees. The concept is a continental multi-sport event along the lines of an Olympic or Commonwealth Games. Asia has already been holding its equivalent games every four years since 1951, so one could argue that the European Games have been a long time coming. In total, 50 European countries will bring around 6,000 athletes to compete in Azerbaijan.

There are 20 sports on show in Baku, which will encompass 30 disciplines. Of those sports, 16 are Olympic events, while the other four – karate, basketball 3×3, beach soccer and sambo (a martial art that was developed in the 1920s by the Red Army in order to improve hand-to-hand combat) – are new sports to this format. In judo, the European Games will double as the European Championships. The other 15 sports are: aquatics, archery, athletics, badminton, volleyball, boxing, canoe, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon and wrestling. There will be 253 medal events, and there will also be opportunities in 12 sports to qualify for next year’s Olympics in Rio.

Great Britain, for example, will send its largest overseas contingent since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. They expect to send between 160 and 170 athletes to Baku, and with 15 months until the Rio Olympics, the event could have a say in how well Team GB do in Brazil. Mark England, Team GB Chef de Mission for Baku 2015 (and Rio 2016 Olympic Games) said: “Because qualification for the Olympic Games is at stake, some of the athletes involved will be reigning Olympic champions and some will be aspiring Olympians… We’re looking at a top, top team.” He went on to say: “Baku has been chosen by the European Olympic Committees. We’re supporting, alongside the 49 other European Olympic nations, the opportunity to go there.”

International athletes including Michael Johnson from the US and Vladimir Salnikov from Russia, both four-time Olympic champions, have paid a visits to Baku to demonstrate their support for the Games and raise its profile.

Azerbaijan, on the shores of the Caspian Sea, is bordered by Russia to the north, Georgia and Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south. The country has become wealthy since breaking away from the Soviet Union in 1991 thanks to its resources of oil and natural gas. The local organising committee has been busy preparing the Games’ infrastructure, including the centre-piece for the 2015 European Games: the Baku National Stadium. Completed in March, the multi-functional venue has a capacity of 65,000 and is due to host athletics competitions as well as both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies during Baku 2015. When the games get underway in June, it will not only mark a new era for sport on the continent, but also another significant step on Azerbaijan’s journey onto the international stage 24 years after the country attained its independence.  For Azerbaijan’s people, it will undoubtedly become a moment of great national pride, but also represent the country’s desire to become part of something much bigger – the European family.

TRANSFORMING BLACK GOLD INTO HUMAN GOLD: Azerbaijan’s Minister for Youth and Sports Azad Rahimov tells

Venetia van Kuffeler how Baku’s youth and sporting prowess is turning it into the capital of the Caspian

What was the idea behind the creation of a European Games?

Every continent has its own non-Olympic sporting event apart from Europe. The European Olympic Committees wanted to change this and in December 2012 they handed Azerbaijan the huge responsibility of hosting the first-ever Games. For Baku, a crossroads between East and West, between secular modernity and a rich Islamic heritage, this was the perfect opportunity to put sport at the heart of our social and economic development and show the world what Azerbaijanis can achieve. The challenge has been huge. Most hosting cities are given seven years to prepare for an event of this scale whilst Baku 2015 was given only 30 months. In this short time, the city has been transformed into the capital of the Caspian.

 At the core of the Government’s ambition for the European Games is a commitment to ensuring both a physical and human legacy of Baku 2015. These fundamental goals of the European Games are a key part of Azerbaijan’s 2020 vision, and a fundamental basis of President’s Aliyev’s strategy to turn black gold into human gold. I’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the First Lady of Azerbaijan, for her tireless support and engagement to ensure that the European Games are a world-class event.

Baku 2015 is an opportunity to present Azerbaijan to the world. What are your hopes, plans and priorities for the inaugural European Games?

This is a great opportunity for a young and dynamic country like Azerbaijan to showcase itself in front of the world. Our television deals not only involve Europe, but also the rest of the globe with contracts signed in the US and Canada, Latin America, India, China, Hong Kong, the Arab world and Australia.

Baku 2015 will mark a milestone on Azerbaijan’s progress as a modern, secular European nation. It provides us with an opportunity to showcase our famous hospitality in the spirit of multi-cultural, inter-ethnic friendship, and welcome our guests to Baku, an emerging centre for commerce, leisure and tourism.

 Azerbaijan is a country that looks to the future while honouring our traditions and history. It is our government’s firm belief that one of our country’s greatest assets and source of long-term prosperity is our youth. Young people are the future of any society, and as one of the youngest populations in Europe, Azerbaijan is blessed with great potential in that regard. These inaugural European Games will demonstrate the enthusiasm of our population.

President Ilham Aliyev has identified the promotion of sport as a priority area for our country’s economic and social development, and part of that initiative is to promote Azerbaijan by hosting major sporting events and to showcase our country, our hospitality, and our professionalism. Europe is gaining a new sporting tradition, and Azerbaijan has the privilege and the responsibility of setting the standard for future Games. This will continue our integration into the European family of nations, and our progress as a modern, dynamic country, open for tourism, business and cultural exchange.

What is Baku 2015’s legacy for the people of Azerbaijan?

The legacy of the Baku 2015 project has already started. Azerbaijan is a country with a strong sporting tradition. Although we are not large in terms of population, we are increasingly ‘punching above our weight’, to use a boxing term.

 Five new venues have been built for Baku 2015 – the National Gymnastics Arena, BMX Velopark, Baku Aquatics Centre, Baku Shooting Centre, and the National Stadium, which join the 35 other Olympic-standard facilities built in the country over the last ten years. A further seven existing venues are undergoing renovation work to bring them up to a world-class level.

 This investment in sporting infrastructure has already yielded impressive results, as our nation’s performances in Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics and London 2012 Olympic Games demonstrate.

 The Azerbaijani national team has been making good use of their improved training facilities to prepare, and will benefit from strong home support and the inspirational effect of competing in the first European Games.

 The general public will also benefit from these new sporting facilities. For example, the new Baku Aquatics Centre provides a state-of-the-art swimming facility which will provide the public with access to regular exercise, and the experience of seeing Europe and Azerbaijan’s best athletes competing in Baku will inspire many, particularly young people, to make full use of the new facilities.

 And of course there is a human legacy. The Baku 2015 Operations Committee now has more than 1,500 employees, over 70 per cent of whom are Azerbaijani (with the remainder drawn from 43 different countries). Working to organise the European Games is a unique experience for these members of staff, who are learning valuable, often highly specialised and technical skills in an international context. This human legacy will play a key role in building on what we are achieving by staging the Games.

 The Games Academy and Graduate Excellence Programme incorporates 188 ambitious young people – 162 from Azerbaijan and 26 from the National Olympic Committees of Europe – into the Baku 2015 team. The programme, which enhances career advancement, ensures that these graduates are developing the skills and knowledge required to deliver not only the European Games, but also future sporting events in our country.

What are your hopes for Baku 2015 attracting other international events to Azerbaijan?

This great sporting event is part of a cohesive plan to put sport at the heart of a diversified economy and healthy society.

 It is important to remember that these inaugural Games are part of President Aliyev’s vision to enhance our country’s reputation. Azerbaijan is already known as a key provider of energy for the continent, but thanks to events like the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, the FIFA Women’s U-17 World Championship, the Baku 2015 European Games and, in the coming years, the 2016 European Formula One Grand Prix, the Baku 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games, and UEFA Euro 2020 football matches, our profile will be higher than ever.

 These large-scale events will provide immediate use for much of the infrastructure and human legacy of Baku 2015. Perhaps less tangible but equally important will be the great benefit our city and country will gain in terms of positive attention from the world’s media and sport fans.

How important is sport and Baku 2015 in promoting Azerbaijan’s diplomatic efforts and its position on the world stage?

Baku 2015 will show the world how far Azerbaijan has come in its short history and the amazing potential of our young, dynamic and rapidly developing country. As I have indicated, there has already been substantial interest in the Games, and we are delighted to have broadcast agreements in place to reach over a billion people in all Olympic continents, which will showcase Azerbaijan to the world.

 If the international community takes one core message from the Games, we hope that it is how the Azerbaijani government is committed to investing in our young people and their future. Through doing this, there is no limit to what our country can achieve. With Baku 2015, Azerbaijan will be in the global spotlight. We want our young people to shine the brightest.

 For me, the European Games are Azerbaijan’s open invitation to the world. It is our hope that Baku 2015 will demonstrate to all our visitors and viewers how sport is a power for good, with great benefits for all nations and people.

The Largest Sporting Event in Azerbaijan’s History: COO of Baku 2015 Simon Clegg says the future is bright for European sport, and nowhere more so than in Azerbaijan

This summer the inaugural Baku 2015 European Games will establish Baku and Azerbaijan as a centre for elite-level sport when it hosts more than 6,000 of Europe’s finest athletes who will compete in 20 sports over 17 days of competition.

Preparations for the Games are currently entering the final weeks, with the finishing touches being put to the 18 new and refurbished competition venues, which will provide the platform for a sporting legacy for years to come.

Indeed the whole city of Baku is readying itself to host the largest sporting event in Azerbaijan’s history; a plethora of new world-class hotels and shopping centres has sprung up, the city’s famous Boulevard is undergoing improvement works, and Baku’s London-style taxis proudly sport the Baku 2015 Games livery.

The Games are adding a new dimension to Azerbaijan’s historical importance as a vital hub not only for international business and commerce but also tourism and culture.

Europe has never had its own major multi-sport event along the lines of the Pan American, All-Africa or Asian Games. Baku 2015 will bring the continent into step with the rest of the sporting world, while showing the youthful, confident face of modern Europe.

The Azerbaijani government has identified sport as an important part of the country’s economic and social development; hosting the Games reflects President Ilham Aliyev’s vision for Baku and his country’s place in Europe, and is part of a policy of encouraging Azerbaijani youngsters to make active lifestyle choices.

As a country with a rich cultural and artistic heritage, it is fitting that Baku 2015 features a strong aesthetic element, which is part of the Games’ broad appeal. First Lady of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva, Chair of the Baku 2015 Games Organising Committee, has personally led many of Baku 2015’s cultural programmes, including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, uniform, medal and mascot planning and design.

The Baku 2015 Opening Ceremony in the magnificent new Olympic Stadium will celebrate Azerbaijani culture and will reflect the host city’s role in modern Europe, as well as honouring the athletes that will be competing.

Baku 2015 has also launched a massive volunteer programme, which has generated a great response amongst young Azerbaijanis. The Flamekeepers, as the volunteers are known, will take on key roles during the Games, and will play a central role in fostering the spirit of Baku 2015. So far more than 30,000 have declared an interest to play their part in these exciting Games.

Part of their human legacy will be to encourage a national interest in volunteering, as well as participation in future major events including next year’s Formula 1 European Grand Prix, the Baku 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games, and the UEFA Euro 2020 matches to be hosted in the city.

Anticipation is building as the Games draw closer, especially since the launch of ticket sales on 20 March. Around 600,000 tickets will be sold, and Baku 2015 is committed to an inclusive pricing policy that will make viewing the Games an affordable proposition for as many people as possible, with children under 16 benefiting from free admission to most sporting competitions.

Being the inaugural edition of the Games, it is not surprising that Baku 2015 has made innovation a defining feature. It will be the first such event to fully integrate cloud computing into its operations and they are busy implementing new and exciting approaches to Games transport and media access to athletes.

In sporting and commercial terms there are innovations such as an integrated event for people with an impairment (Blind Judo), while we have already created a vibrant and culturally fitting brand in venues. The brand has now been internationally recognised at the prestigious Transform Awards in London in April. Some new sports have been introduced, like 3×3 Basketball, also attracting interest from other Games. It has already been announced that this style of basketball will be included in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland, Australia.

These initiatives have helped to secure TV coverage in almost 60 countries to date, reaching more than one billion viewers across Europe and the world, as well as support from Official Partners: Azal Airlines, BP, Coca-Cola, Kapital Bank, Nar Mobile, Procter & Gamble, SOCAR and Tissot.

We also have important support from UNICEF as they work to reinforce the legacy and investment in the young people of a young and dynamic country.

The future is bright for European sport, and nowhere more so than in Azerbaijan. As one of the youngest populations in Europe, Azerbaijan stands to benefit from the inspiration, which the Games will provide, as well as a physical legacy of improved infrastructure and transport links.

The European Olympic Committees, the body uniting Europe’s 50 National Olympic Committees, is planning that the Games – the most exciting addition to the global sporting calendar for 50 years – will be held every four years. There is already considerable interest amongst potential host cities for the 2019 edition, and Baku 2015 is committed to leaving a workable, innovative legacy for future Games.

BOLD BAKU: President of the European Olympic Committees Patrick Hickey says Azerbaijan is using the European Games as a lightning rod for its sports strategy going forward

A little under three years ago, the European Games did not exist. But on 8 December 2012, the concept of Europe’s first ever continental multi-sport event was ratified by the members of the European Olympic Committees (EOC). The city of Baku was named host of the inaugural Games and in 30 months has delivered what it usually takes an Olympic host city seven years to prepare: a stage fit for some of the finest athletes on the planet to compete at the pinnacle of their sport. At the time of writing, we are just two weeks away from naming the host city for the European Games in 2019 from a field of six. The progress of the European Games – as an idea, as a world-class multi-sport event, and as a longstanding addition to the European calendar – has been nothing short of remarkable.

It was a bold decision by the members of the EOC to award the first ever European Games to Baku, but it was in response to a bold proposal from Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan’s boldness is about to be rewarded with Baku poised to stage the biggest sporting event in the country’s 23-year history. The Games are a springboard for Azerbaijan’s ambitions of becoming a sports city to rival the likes of Paris, London, Rome and Madrid: a cutting-edge, reliable and inspiring destination for elite sport. Baku 2015 may not start until 12 June, but since preparations began Azerbaijan has already been awarded the hosting rights to some of world sport’s blue chip events, including the Formula 1 European Grand Prix in 2016 and matches at the UEFA EURO 2020. The fact that just two years after the inaugural European Games that same city will host the Islamic Solidarity Games in 2017, says a great deal about where Azerbaijan and Baku see their roles in the modern world.

Azerbaijan’s success in using the European Games as a lightning rod for its sports strategy has not gone unnoticed by the rest of the European Olympic family. Europe’s other National Olympic Committees (NOCs) have demonstrated a high level of interest in putting forward a city for the 2019 edition. The EOC took the decision to keep the names of the 2019 candidates confidential, but one thing is for certain: they regard this innovative, flexible event as the perfect vehicle for efficiently enhancing their national sports strategies. The European Games concept was devised to be tailored to the host’s individual needs and priorities. So whichever city does host the second European Games, we should not expect a carbon copy of Baku 2015. It is likely to look quite different.

This flexibility is one of the most unique and important aspects of the European Games and is a philosophy which I am delighted to see reflected in the IOC’s new direction for the Olympic Games, as outlined in Olympic Agenda 2020. The European Games does not seek to copy the Olympic Games – nor indeed the Pan-American Games or the Asian Games. It is an event introduced to provide European sport – including NOCs, individual cities, sports federations, and of course, athletes – with better competitions, more exposure, and fresh opportunities to evolve.

For 20 years, the European Games has been the ‘missing ring’ in the cycle of continental quadrennials. Now, we are within touching distance of realising our dream. But the symbolism and excitement of Europe finally having its own continental Games must not detract from the facts behind our decision. The fact is that of the past 10 Olympic Games, only three have been held in Europe. And of the next four Olympic Games, none will be held in Europe. The proportion of medals won by European athletes has plummeted by over a third since 1988. Compared with how things were even 20 years ago, the people of Europe are less connected to the Olympic Games, less connected with the values of Olympism and the lasting societal benefits they stimulate. Television and social media may allow European audiences to engage with an Olympic Games in China or Brazil in an unprecedented way. But the collective passions which win over hearts and minds in the host city and nation have been increasingly infrequent in the lives of European people.



• More than 6,000 athletes from Europe are expected to compete

• There will be a total of 20 sports, including new disciplines such as Basketball 3×3, Beach Soccer, Karate and Sambo

• 12 sports will offer qualification opportunities for Rio 2016 Summer Olympics

• There will be 18 competition venues including newly-built venues for Gymnastics, BMX, Aquatics and Shooting, and a purpose-built 68,000-seat stadium for Athletics and Opening and Closing Ceremonies

• There will be 253 medal events in total


The Sports

A total of 20 sports will be represented: 16 Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports.

Aquatics – Diving

Baku Aquatics Centre

160 athletes – 4 days of competition;

8 medal events

Competition starts: 18 June

The Baku Aquatics Centre has been constructed for the Games and has a seating capacity of 6,000.

Aquatics – Swimming

Baku Aquatics Centre

526 athletes; 5 days of competition;

42 medal events

Competition starts: 23 June

Aquatics – Synchronised Swimming

Baku Aquatics Centre

150 athletes; 5 days of competition;

4 medal events

Competition starts: 12 June

Aquatics – Water Polo

Water Polo Arena

364 athletes; 10 days of competition;

2 medal events

Competition starts: 12 June

More than 360 competitors will battle it out for gold as they go head-to-head at the Water Polo Arena, a temporary outdoor venue within the European Games Park.


Tofiq Bahramov Stadium

128 athletes; 7 days of competition;

5 medal events

Competition starts: 16 June

The Tofiq Bahramov Stadium is home to the Azerbaijani national football team and will host 3,000 spectators.


National Stadium

500 athletes; 2 days of competition;

1 medal event

Competition starts: 21 June

National Stadium will host two days of athletics events as well as the Opening and Closing ceremonies. The venue has capacity for 65,000 spectators.


Baku Sports Hall

160 athletes; 7 days of competition;

5 medal events

Competition starts: 22 June

The Baku Sports Hall was a pre-existing venue that was rennovated for Baku 2015. It has a capacity of 1,700.

Basketball 3×3

Basketball Arena

128 athletes; 4 days of competition;

2 medal events

Competition starts: 23 June

The Basketball Arena is located in the European Games Park and the venue has a capacity of 2,500 spectators.

Beach Soccer

Beach Arena

96 athletes; 5 days of competition;

1 medal event

Competition starts: 24 June

The Beach Arena is a temporary venue constructed for the Games located on the edge of the Caspian Sea, with a capacity of 2,900 spectators for the Beach Soccer competition.

Beach Volleyball

Beach Arena

128 athletes; 6 days of competition;

2 medal events

Competition starts: 16 June

The Beach Arena will have capacity for 3,900 spectators during the Beach Volleyball competition.


Crystal Hall

330 athletes; 12 days of competition;

15 medal events

Competition starts: 16 June

The Crystal Hall is located on a dramatic peninsula jutting out into the Caspian Sea, and was originally built for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012. It will host five sports during the Games.

Canoe Sprint


350 athletes; 3 days of competition;

15 medal events

Competition starts: 14 June

The historic city of Mingachevir will host the Canoe Sprint competition. Located on the picturesque banks of the Kur River, the venue has a capacity of 1,350 spectators.


BMX Velopark

48 athletes; 3 days of competition;

2 medal events

Competition starts: 26 June

The BMX Velopark is a temporary venue built for  Baku 2015, although the BMX track will remain as part of the Games legacy. It has a capacity of 1,600 spectators.


MTB Velopark

77 athletes; 1 day of competition;

2 medal events

Competition starts: 13 June

The Mountain Bike Velopark is a temporary venue built for the Games, located in the hills immediately south of the Baku Shooting Centre.

Cycling – Road

Freedom Square and Bilgah Beach

221 athletes; 3 days of competition;

4 medal events

Competition starts: 18 June

The Cycling Road Race is a 13.5km circuit throughout Baku, starting in Freedom Square, and will comprise 16 laps for men and 9 laps for women.


Crystal Hall

216 athletes; 5 days of competition;

12 medal events

Competition starts: 23 June

Gymnastics – Acrobatics

National Gymnastics Arena

55 athletes; 3 days of competition;

6 medal events

Competition starts: 17 June

The National Gymnastics Arena can seat 7,000 spectators, and the venue hosted the 30th European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in June 2014.

Gymnastics – Aerobic

National Gymnastics Arena

67 athletes; 3 days of competition;

2 medal events

Competition starts: 17 June

Gymnastics – Artistic

National Gymnastics Arena

179 athletes; 4 days of competition;

14 medal events

Competition starts: 15 June

Gymnastics – Rhythmic

National Gymnastics Arena

93 athletes; 3 days of competition;

8 medal events

Competition starts: 17 June

Gymnastics – Trampoline National Gymnastics Arena

53 athletes; 3 days of competition;

4 medal events

Competition starts: 17 June


Heydar Aliyev Arena

366 athletes; 18 days of competition;

 4 medal events

Competition starts: 25 June

The Heydar Aliyev Arena is named after the country’s former President. Opened in 1990, it can host 7,800 spectators.


Crystal Hall

96 athletes; 2 days of competition;

12 medal events

Competition starts: 13 June


Heydar Aliyev Arena

77 athletes; 1 day of competition;

8 medal events

Competition starts: 22 June


Baku Shooting Centre

330 athletes; 7 days of competition;

19 medal events

Competition starts: 16 June

The Baku Shooting Centre is a brand-new purpose-built facility for Baku 2015, and will form part of its lasting legacy.

Table Tennis

Baku Sports Hall

128 athletes; 7 days of competition;

4 medal events

Competition starts: 13 June


Crystal Hall

128 athletes; 4 days of competition;

8 medal events

Competition starts: 16 June


Bilgah Beach

130 athletes; 2 days of competition;

2 medal events

Competition starts: 13 June

Bilgah Beach is one of Baku’s most beautiful seaside resorts, located just north of the city centre.


Crystal Hall

336 athletes; 16 days of competition;

2 medal events

Competition starts: 13 June


Heydar Aliyev Arena

480 athletes; 6 days of competition;

24 medal events

Competition starts: 13 June

The most popular combat sport in Azerbaijan, wrestling will be a highlight of the European Games.

Athletes Village

• 1,042 village apartments

• 7,351 beds

• 80,000kg of food served

• One of the largest kitchens in Europe


• Over 500 taxis and sedans

• 330 coaches

• Over 20 major transport

infrastructure projects

Human Legacy

• Estimated 1,600 Games-time workforce

• Diverse workforce – 43 different nationalities currently employed, from five continents

• 20,000 contractors have been hired to prepare Baku for hosting the Games

• Transfer of Knowledge Programme from international to local staff

• Games Academy Programme ensuring local legacy for future events


• The Opening Ceremony will be a celebration of traditional Azerbaijani culture that will reflect the host city’s role in modern Europe

• Dimitris Papaioannou is Artistic Director of the Opening Ceremony and highly regarded for his spectacular work on the Athens 2004 Olympic Games ceremonies

• A cast of over 6,000 involved in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies


• 7 Official Partners announced: AZAL, BP, Coca-Cola, Nar Mobile, P&G, SOCAR and Tissot

• 8 Official Supporters announced: Azersun Holding, Bazarstore, McDonald’s, NAZ, Tickethour, Sitecore, Milla and Motorola Solutions


• Broadcast deals signed with TV stations for 55 countries to date

• 800 hours of planned broadcasting

• Approximately 750 media agencies will show highlights of the Games



Azerbaijan first participated at the Olympic Games as an independent nation in 1996, and has sent athletes to compete in every Games since.

From 1952 to 1988, Azerbaijani athletes competed at the Olympics as part of the Soviet Union, and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan was part of the Unified Team (the name used for the team made up of the former Soviet Union except the Baltic States) in 1992.

The National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan was created in 1992 and recognised by the International Olympic Committee in 1993. Azerbaijani athletes have won a total of 26 medals at the Summer Olympic Games, in wrestling, shooting, boxing, judo and weightlifting. In London 2012, Azerbaijan won 10 medals, which included two golds, won by Toghrul Asgarov and Sharif Sharifov, both for Wrestling. Most recently, Azerbaijan competed in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.


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