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  • ATR Exclusive - Baku to Bid for 2020 Olympics


    Baku will propose to stage the Olympics in the traditional July-August window (Getty)
    (ATR) Azerbaijan's National Olympic Committee tells Around the Rings that Baku is bidding for the 2020 Olympics. An NOC spokesman says the capital city is in a much stronger position to vie for the Games after its 2016 bid failure.

    "We have already sent the necessary documents requested by the IOC and also received confirmation from their side of our candidature," the NOC's head of international relations Konul Nurulleyeva told ATR Thursday.

    "We are sure that it will have a chance," she said. "We have enough power [resources] to build constructions for the Olympics and organize big events. First of all we want to advertise our country to the world."

    The IOC has set a midnight Thursday deadline for NOCs to submit applicant cities for the 2020 Olympics.

    On Friday, the IOC is expected to announce that Baku, Doha, Istanbul, Madrid, Rome and Tokyo are the applicant cities for the 2020 Games.

    The Azeri capital failed to make the shortlist for the 2016 Games; it was cut from the field in June 2008.

    "We know the history of the bid process, the first time it was difficult to win," Nurulleyeva told ATR.

    "We know better which parts we have to do [better] and in which way. For the second time, we have enough experience."

    With construction of an Olympic Stadium underway and a number of sports complexes now built in Baku since its elimination from the 2016 bid race, the city is expected to mount a much stronger bid this time around.

    Nurulleyeva said that the Olympic Stadium being built on a reclaimed oil field on the outskirts of Baku could be finished in 2013. It would play host to the national football team as well as holding various other sports and entertainment events.

    The eastern European country’s staging of major international sports events in the last two years will also bolster its 2020 candidacy, she added.

    The international boxing association (AIBA) holds its men's world championships from Sept. 22 to Oct. 10 in Baku. In June, the World Taekwondo Federation's qualification tournament for the London Olympics Games was held in the city.

    Azerbaijan sports minister Azad Rahimov led the 2016 Olympic bid and is expected to play a lead role for Baku in the 2020 race. NOC president Ilham Aliyev will also be part of the leadership team.

    Reported by Mark Bisson

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