Chairman of EOC Coordination Commission: Level of sport in Azerbaijan has grown up

European Games showed to the rest of the world that Azerbaijan is capable in organizing successful multisport events at the very high level

Baku. 24 June. REPORT.AZ/ Report News Agency presents an interview with the Chairman of the EOC Coordination Commission, Spyros Capralos.

- How do you estimate the organization of the First European Games in Azerbaijan, noting that the country had only two years for preparation?

- I think what we've seen up to now, was an excellent organization in world class sport facilities. We've seen very good operational organization and I think that with the participation of top class athletes this had given a spectacle for European fans who assisted the games here of assisted the games behind the screens. These games were very innovative, we had new sports in the program, we had new disciplines in various sports and I think all these things has given a very good ideas on many things that we can do for the development of sport. Also, I think that it was important that many new sporting events were qualification events for the Olympic Games. Some athletes got direct ticket to go to Rio de Janeiro from Baku. Also, the innovation, that we've seen is street athletics. I think this is something very interesting and important because it gives the opportunity to spectators to see pole vaults and high jump which is very interesting. I think media was also happy, because the new system of introduction of press conferences at the venues was also very positive. And from listening my colleagues from European family, the use of TX system has reduced the number of cars, required for the games, and was very convenient to go to the various venues.

- How do you assess the coverage of games by local and foreign media?

- I think we'd been particularly pleased by the reception of these games by the media, first of all by the foreign media. These games were broadcasted in 145 countries, not just in Europe but all around the world, showing the interest about European Games, because we know that European sport is on the high level. And also we were particularly pleased by the local, Azerbaijani media who had the full coverage of the games with many details and stories, and this is proven, first of all with the success of the Azerbaijani athletes and after that people went out to buy tickets for the games. Now all the events have been sold out. You cannot find tickets for the last days of the games which means that media done a very very good job. They also presented that Azerbaijani people are very happy and proud that these events were run in their country.

- The aim of Azerbaijan is to organize Olympic Games. Do you think that European Games will help to the country to reach this target?

- European Games showed to the rest of the world that it is capable in organizing successful multisport events at the very high level. And I think this is important, because now you have the infrastructure, not only the venues but also operational capabilities in organizing major events. I think that the first European Games is important steps towards the organizing Olympic Games. And with the agenda of 2020, which makes things more flexible, I think that in some areas you'd have some problems, now the road is open to the Olympics Games.

- How intense are the competition going?

- I think that the games are on very high standard. All athletes from various countries try to win these medals not only for qualification but also to make history as first European Games' champions. We've seen a very high standard even at the sports, which we thought that the level will not be on top. In cycling we had 4 stage winner of Tour de France who won here the road cycling. It was impressive to see him and other top class athletes competing at the roads of Baku. In triathlon we've seen the athletes who won London Olympics, who competing here. I think that many Olympic medalists, many World medalists competed here and were very excited to win the medals here.

- Are you watching the games and which events did you like most of all?

- I enjoyed everything, these games gave the opportunity to see and watch some sports which I was not familiar with like karate. But I observed that the level of sports is on high level.

- What do you think about the future of the games?

- I think with the success of the European Games more and more interest will be created to host these events in 2019 and 2023. We are confident that we will have very good organizers for the future games. We are not here to compete with another continental games. I think that EOC should take seriously in consideration that these continental games will serve as a qualification for the Olympic Games and of course, we are ready to help every organizer to put the rights sport to the program and have a new successful edition of the games that we have now in Baku.

- After Athens Olympic Games 2004 some sport venues were destroyed or remained useless. Do you think that this fate can be repeated in Baku?

- Azerbaijan has shown, first off all, that they have lot of athletes. Azerbaijan has got many medals from various sports. It shows that the level of sport in this country has grown up. Also, the country committed to organize many events in the future. Islamic Games are coming and you have Euro - 2020 and Formula One. So many of these facilities will be used for the events you are having in the future. If Azerbaijan will continue to invest into sport, the youth will have the opportunity to train in first class facilities and this will bring much more better future for the youth. Every euro spent on the sport saves 7 euro for the healthcare.

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