The Minister: “More than 10-15 thousand tourists have come to Azerbaijan” - INTERVIEW

The Minister: “More than 10-15 thousand tourists have come to Azerbaijan”  - <span style="color: red;">INTERVIEW
# 16 June 2016 19:59 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. An exclusive interview of the Minister of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Azerbaijan Azad Rehimov to website.


- Formula-1 Grand Prix of Europe will start in Baku tomorrow. Is our capital city fully ready for the three-day racing?


- Of course, we're ready. However, we can not say 100 percent ready, because completion in such great racings continue until the very last minutes. All works related to technologies close to complete, but test continues until the last minute. On some roads have not been constructed fences, yet. On the purpose of creating an opportunity for the movement of technical machines, were remained open, will be installed the last minutes. All of these issues under control, it don’t create a problem. Today the works will be completed, there is a night ahead, last steps to be taken. CEO of Formula One Management Bernie Ecclestone is in Baku. Yesterday we have met. He has got familiarized with the roads and all other facilities. He has said that everything is at high level. He expected Azerbaijan will hold the race at a high level, but really did not expect such a high level. Today, in a meeting with President Ilham Aliyev once more stressed that he is glad that all issues have been resolved.


 - For the number of spectators Formula-1 only lags behind the World Football Cup and the Summer Olympic Games. Can this racing be considered the most prestigious tournament that held in Azerbaijan?


- You know, all the competition is very important for Azerbaijan. The main significance of these events is that young people are called for the sport, for watch and be fans of them. Such competitions a special place. Formula-1 is an elite tournament, has its own audience, and category. The European Games that we hosted last year was really held on the level of the Olympic Game. It created enthusiasm and wonderful atmosphere for athletes and fans, transformed into a sports holiday. World Chess Olympiad will start in Azerbaijan on September 1. More than 180 teams will come for this Olympiad that for the first time will be held in our country.


- What can you say about the benefits of Formula-1 for the country? How much money Azerbaijan has spent for this competition so far and how much income will be?


- Direct income of our country is from the sale of tickets. More than 2 million manats tickets have been sold until today. Other incomes are not directly. Other incomes connected with the tourists. As we know, today there are no free rooms in hotels; all of them have been reserved. More than 10-15 thousand tourists have come to Azerbaijan. Today, many foreigners work here related to the Formula-1. Taking into account the team members, they also stay in hotels. Lets say so, they spend money in Azerbaijan. And these are great income. This is not directly work of Organizing Committee, but I think the relevant structures will be able to estimate these and inform us. Main incomes are these. 


- The well-known Spanish newspaper Marca claims that Azerbaijan has spent $ 80 million for holding Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe in Azerbaijan, as well as $ 2 million to classified Fernando Alonso the official ambassador of the competition. As far as these claims are real?


-I repeatedly have given explanations regarding costs. AZN 12 million was allocated for the replacement of the asphalt pavement. On a large building ( "poddok" - red.), Erected on the square Azadlig - up to AZN 20 million. This building is purchased, it will be used in subsequent years. The city has special obstacles, other work was performed. Undoubtedly, Alonso no such money is not paid. This is incorrect information. In general, the preparation of the state and all sponsors were spent around 100 million manats.


-Pilot Of "Mercedes" Lewis Hamilton after driving Baku track on the simulator in an interview with Russian media compared it to the motorway, complaining of alternating narrow and wide sections of the route...


- Hamilton tomorrow will drive on this track. He shared his views on a simulator. I am sure he would change his mind after the live race. Because the track is really interesting. Of course, his opinion is very important for us. But on the other hand, we have only positive reviews, I would say even applause sounded many opinions that Baku track is interesting in comparison with other urban tracks. Here narrow portions alternate with wide, there are a lot of turns and descents. There are long straights where the cars can accelerate to high speeds. Tomorrow will start the free races, and then it will be very important to hear their views. Secondly, Hamilton compares Monaco. Currently, there are 4 tracks of the city - in Melbourne, Singapore, Monaco and Baku. The track in Monaco - the first, takes the race since the 1950s. I was in Singapore, any specific changes I do not see. Perhaps rotations there may be more than there, but in general they are similar. I can not say for sure what exactly had in Hamilton’s mind and what he wants deliver funs .


- Last year Azerbaijan hosted the European game. How do you see the future of European Games? In a recent interview with TASS you make the possibility of holding the second European Games in Russia...


- European games should absolutely be hold. It's a big competition, similar to the Olympic Games, has enabled the accumulation of considerable experience. Baku-2015 made it possible to win a license for the Olympic Games in Rio. In these competitions were presented with the strongest athletes. All sports facilities meet the standards. Games are held in all continents except Europe. The question remains open, and it is now on the agenda. European Olympic Committee is currently working on it. Secondly, as you know, in Europe there is now a crisis. Many countries do not want to spend money on unplanned events. I believe that among them there are countries, most taking at events and opportunities for competition at the highest level. I participated in the Olympic Games in Sochi. Russia accepts and holds high level competitions all agreed. Sochi and Kazan recently hosted the Winter Olympic Games and Universiade. Russia could declare its readiness to carry out the game. That is, there is no need to make additional costs. Therefore, at a meeting with representatives of the Russian media, I noted that it is a great opportunity for all athletes of Europe, and Russia.


- The first half of 2016 passed. How do you assess the past period of year for Azerbaijani sportsmen?


-We do assessment on the number of medals won. If for any sport won more medals, then the sport is developing, is on the right way. If compared with the same period last year - won medals more. It makes us happy. In 2015 Azerbaijani sportsmen won 825 medals were. I'm sure this year will be no less.


-Azerbaijan Increases with the number of medals won and Olympic licenses every year. Number of licenses won the Games in Rio has already reached 54's - this is a record compared to the London Games of 2012. If we consider the forthcoming Baku licensed boxing tournament, how many, in your opinion, the athletes will represent Azerbaijan at the Games in Rio de Janeiro?


-I think, 57 licenses will be. At the London Olympics, we won 53 licenses. Now 4 licenses are more, we glad for it. It is encouraging that already won on the tour for the new sport of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan will be represented in Rio in sports like triathlon, archery, canoe-slalom and cycling. The Head of State has repeatedly pointed out that in Azerbaijan focuses on the development of not only traditional, and all kinds of sports.


- It is too early to make predictions for the medals. All the same, as you consider how many medals will be considered successful for the Azerbaijani team at the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro?


-I Think on the basis of sports history, more than 10 medals in the bank team will be a great success for our country. This will be an indication that we are on the right track.


- Azerbaijani weightlifters may lose licenses in Rio. Recently six more weightlifters were disqualified on the results of doping tests. Today announced a decision on Boyanka Kostova - doping analysis, taken from her at the London 2012 Olympics, tested positive. Who do you think is to blame for the scandal erupted doping?


-I never look for the guilty and, in general, I have a different opinion about it. First of all, blame the athlete himself. S/he should know that it takes, you should think before taking a particular drug. The athlete is not a child, not knowing that s/he is given to take coaches. On the other hand, they encroach on their health, as any doping is harmful to the body. With third party so they fail to. I think this a great responsibility rests with the athlete. If they do not realize that in the case of wine, of course, to them. In this matter also plays a significant role control of the head coach, the federation’s responsible persons, in particular, the Chief Secretary. Also, managers, doctors. Wines falls on all of them, if any athlete disgrace to the country were involved in the doping scandal. As for Kostova, she had taken samples A and B during the London 2012 Olympics. Now read out data on the sample B. We do not agree with the decision, since in the next Olympics after that event it tests clean. We want to resolve the issue in court. We intend to appeal.


- Is it possible to deprive won licenses?


-This is a decision of the Olympic Committee. Perhaps a license will be remained on us. But in this case, which athletes will be performing? Athletes, we were prepared punished. It is advisable to be directed to the competition and inexperienced athletes hold 35, 43rd place? On the other hand, I am always an advocate of what is necessary to participate. Not all athletes can win gold medals. Our flag should be raised at the Olympics.


-When do you think we can expect Azerbaijan to participate in team sports at the Olympics?


- In women's volleyball, the case is currently doing well. Recent events have shown that the team and clubs are strong, too. However, work must continue. The next year will be the European Championship volleyball competitions in Azerbaijan and Georgia. National team need to carefully prepare for this tournament. As for the other team sports, football spent a lot of money. There's practically "nobody nothing no failure." Despite this, in the sport does not achieve success. Much support has also handball and basketball. But in one of Baku with 3-5 people to develop these kinds of difficult sport. Trainers should go to the regions, to attract ability children, and select them. As a result, this approach could form the core and replacement of modular compositions. In the national team players are presented the main clubs. All the time, act the same person. It should be innovation, without innovation to achieve high performance is unrealistic.


- Today, World Olympic Qualifying Tournament on boxing to start in Baku. If we do not consider APB and WSB leagues, it is the last competition giving license to Rio in this type of sport. And chess Olympiad expects our country. May Armenian national team, which refused to come to the qualifying Tournament, repudiate to come to our capital at the last moment?


- It is so difficult to get a clear answer from Armenia, to discuss these issues with them, and get approval. For European Games, more than 20 athletes came. After returning they praised Azerbaijan, did not faced any problems. They came to others various tournaments. They know that security issues are at very high level in Azerbaijan. On the other hand, some time later, based on a some political order, they say, no, we are afraid to go there. But the government gives guarantee to the athletes that security issues have been resolved at the highest level.


 - Complete our conversation with the currently ongoing European Football Championship in France. Curiously, is there any team that Mr. Minister is fun for and as for you, which team is the favorite?


- I always root for the Italian national team. It’s my most favorite team. In the first game showed that the ream is ready. Demonstrated very good performance. I think that Italy and Germany will meet in the final.