EOC President Hickey praises "remarkable" European Games debut in Baku
The President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) Patrick Hickey today hailed the “remarkable” opening days of the inaugural European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan.
After a stunning Opening Ceremony on Friday evening, the sporting action of the inaugural European Games started on Saturday. So far nine of the 20 sports on the Baku 2015 Sports Programme have been showcased: Cycling, Triathlon, Karate, Wrestling, Aquatics (Water Polo and Synchronised Swimming), Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Volleyball and Canoe Sprint.
Swiss mountain biker Jolanda Neff became the first ever European Games Champion, taking gold in the women’s Cross-Country on Saturday morning. Another highlight of the opening weekend was the Triathlon, staged at Baku’s Bilgah Beach seaside resort. The women’s event in particular demonstrated the high-quality of athletes competing, with Nicola Spirig – gold medalist at London 2012 – being joined on the podium by Sweden’s Lisa Nordén, who took silver at London 2012.
Host nation Azerbaijan still tops the medal table with 13 overall (six gold, two silver and five bronze), inspiring the local population and enhancing the festival atmosphere around the city.
EOC President Patrick Hickey said:
“I am absolutely delighted with how the first two days of competition have gone. On Friday we saw an exceptional Opening Ceremony and the sport that has followed has been equally impressive. It is great to see the host nation Azerbaijan do so well early on. Athletes from every corner of Europe have arrived in Baku determined to become the first European Games champion, but also to compete in a spirit of friendship and respect. It has been a remarkable debut for the European Games.”
EOC Coordination Commission Chair for Baku 2015, Spyros Capralos, said:
“So far Azerbaijan and BEGOC have delivered exactly what they promised: first class sport in stunning venues with a fully engaged local population. As the Coordination Commission Chair I was particularly pleased to see Azerbaijan’s first gold come in Karate, one of the four non-Olympic sports on the Programme using the Games to show just how exciting it is. Operationally it has been a great start to the Games but we must maintain these standards for the whole 17 days.”
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