Baku Targets Shining 2015 First European Games (allAfrica.com)

The Baku 2015 European Games has reached its climax when the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev took the official flame of the Baku 2015 European Games during a special ceremony that took place in the ancient and sacred temple of Ateshgah, Baku.

Baku’s preparation to host the first European Games, the European Olympics, is in full swing this time. The event is set to bring together close to 6,000 athletes from Europe. Journalist and photo journalists from across the world are expected to flock to the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku to witness the beginning of this incredible sports event. Big European sports powers like Germany, Italy and Britain are making their own preparation to make history in this grand and first ever European Games.

The Azerbaijan Ambassador in Addis Ababa and Permanent Representative to the African Union, Elman Abdullayev, said that the Baku 2015 will surely be a remarkable sporting event, which will be held in Azerbaijan from 12 – 28 June, 2015, for the entire world. “Azerbaijan has begun preparations to make the events colourful and historic. We built ultra-modern facilities to host this first ever European sports event” the Ambassador said.

It is understood from the words of the Ambassador that the flame will cover over 60 locations to put the spirit of the Games in to the hearts of the people. The population are expected to join in the daily celebrations along the historic route.

Olympic handball Champion Rafiga Shabanova was the European Games first torch-bearer. President Aliyev passed the torch to her and she began the Journey of the Flame across Baku.

The President of the European Olympic Committees Patrick Hickey who was present in this inspirational moment remarked: “The Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect are perfectly expressed through the Torch Relay. By passing the flame from one to another in a collaborative gesture, torch-bearers spread a message of peace, friendship and celebration through sport. Baku 2015 will come to life through the dedication and effort of your entire country. It has been an absolute pleasure working with the Azerbaijani leadership. Your professionalism and focus has never failed to impress us.”

Olympic Stadium is a venue to host football matches and athletics. It will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the European Games as well as Athletics competition. The stadium will have a capacity of 68,195. Within the stadium precinct there are also warm up and training facilities for athletes that include seating for up to 21,915 spectators and park lands.

The construction of the stadium started on 6 June 2011 after President Ilham Aliyev and FIFA and UEFA presidents Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini attended the ground-breaking ceremony

The colourful Opening Ceremony is expected to draw a huge crowd at the 68, 195 capacity Olympic stadium including 6500 Athletes and Officials, as well as a cast of over 5000 volunteer and headline performers. Five hundred athletes will compete over two days at the venue on June 21-22.