European Games has put Azerbaijan on world map, minister says

European Games has put Azerbaijan on world map, minister says
# 27 June 2015 08:00 (UTC +04:00)

"The first European Games will go down in sporting history," Rahimov said in a statement on Friday. "I'm very proud of what has been achieved in Baku and the positive feedback we have been getting.

"It has been a success for Azerbaijan and will be a launch pad for future sporting events we will host. The coverage ... and the positive messages we have sent have really highlighted Azerbaijan on the world and European map."

Next year Azerbaijan will host a Formula One race through the streets of Baku, the 42nd Chess Olympiad and soccer's European Under-17 Championship. It will also stage matches in soccer's Euro 2020 competition.

"There is a new culture growing, this is very important, of supporting the development of sport," said Rahimov.

"Every ticket sold is an important contribution to sustain and maintain our sporting arenas and develop our athletes in different sports."

Russia are dominating the Games with 69 golds but Azerbaijan, roared on by vociferous support at every venue, have surprised many and are second in the medal table with 18.

"The success of the Azerbaijan team has had a huge impact, not only on the Games but also on the general public," said Simon Clegg, chief operating officer of Baku 2015.

"I think huge credit should go to the athletes and their coaches and federations."

Nearly 6,000 athletes from 50 countries have competed in 20 sporting events at the Games that will end with Sunday's closing ceremony in the 68,000-seater Olympic Stadium.