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Three opening days of the 1st European Games in Baku. Chronicle of the TV program Week

The whole of Europe is watching the first ever European games that are now underway in Baku. They have already dubbed the Olympics of the Old World.

An incredibly spectacular opening ceremony was attended by about 30 heads of state and government. Alexander Lukashenko personally welcomed the Belarusian team and its flag bearer at the opening ceremony in the stands of the National Stadium in Baku. On the same day, the Belarusian leader discussed with his Azerbaijani counterpart preparations for such a large-scale forum. Baku had only two years to prepare for the event.

About 150 athletes represent Belarus at the first European games.

Veronika Pavlovich, head coach of Belarusian national team in table tennis:            
This is of course a competition where athletes compete for medals. Therefore, we all take it very seriously. We want only a victory.

Ruslan Sheikhov, head coach of the national wrestling team of Belarus:
I hope that the boys will cope with their emotions. We should do well. At least, we had enough time and used it worthily.

The idea of the Euro Games in Baku appeared in 2011 during the meeting of the European Olympic Committees in Minsk.

Back then Alexander Lukashenko supported the project. And three years ago, Baku was announced the venue for the continental championship.

The wife of the President of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva was the organizer of the ambitious project.

Much was done and many buildings constructed in only two years - the Baku Olympic Stadium, palace of water sports, a cycling arena, a shooting center, the National Gymnastics Arena and so on.

The Baku renovation cost 1 billion euros. But it was worth it.

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
This is history - the first European Olympic Games in Baku. I congratulate you on the fact that you were able to do it all in a short time (you had only 2 years). These Olympic Games gave impetus to the completion of all your activities, from the promenade to the sports facilities. It is amazing work. Well done! We had no doubt that you would be in time for the Games, but we did not imagine that it would be that beautiful! 

This is friendship is at the state level. Belarus and Azerbaijan are reliable partners in the political and economic arena. In difficult times Baku to lent Minsk a shoulder. Today, our countries not only actively trade but also access to foreign markets with joint projects.

Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan Republic:
We very much value our relationship. We are proud of what we have achieved in a relatively short time. Glad you took the time to come to the opening of the first European Games. This is a significant event for Azerbaijan and Europe. I know that Belarus is represented by a strong squad so I wish you success and medals to your team. Let us together cheer for the Azerbaijani and Belarusian national teams.  

A truly historic event - the opening of the first European Games at the Olympic Stadium in Baku - was attended by over 60,000 spectators. 

The ceremony reflected Eastern traditions and European trends.  Alexander Lukashenko, with his youngest son, stood up to welcome the Belarusian team.

Alexander Lukashenko shared his impressions of the opening ceremony at a meeting with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
We are members of the European family. Europe is our common home. So we have to play our due role, including in sports. We are a young and ambitious country. Especially because sport is our priority. The principles we profess in politics are very in tune with the principles pursued by the International Olympic Committee. We are absolutely international, multi-religious, multi-ethnic country, where people live in peace and harmony, people of different faiths, religions and nationalities. 

Alexander Lukashenko suggested that the International Olympic Committee support sports initiatives in countries that are developing in this direction. The President of Belarus thanked Thomas Bach for the activities in the international sports and presented him with the Order of the National Olympic Committee of Belarus.

Alexander Lukashenko discussed organization of the first European Games in Baku with the president of the European Olympic Committees Patrick Hickey. 

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
The development of modern society is due solely to sport. Because it is not only health, but also, above all, a person's mood. Azerbaijan organized this even in a way that made all haters shut up. This is a normal, developing, peaceful country with excellent management and a president who wants good to the country. Therefore whether you criticize him or not, he is doing do not criticize, but he does a good deed for his country, his people and, as we have seen, for the whole of Europe. 

For personal contribution to the development of Belarusian Olympic movement, mass sport and elite sport Belarusian President awarded Patrick Hickey the Medal of Francysk Skaryna.

For Belarusian athletes, the European games is a possibility and a good experience.

Maxim Ryzhenkov, first vice president of the National Olympic Committee, Assistant to the President of the Republic of Belarus on physical education, sport and tourism:
In Europe, these games are higher than the other - above the European championships and cups. Therefore, every athlete would be interested in taking part. This is a chance to be seen and make a huge step in your career.

The Olympic Village, or rather, the elite settlement, was built in Baku specifically for the competition. Here live our athletes. The minister was shown all facilities for training and rest.

Alexander Shamko, Minister of Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Belarus:
There is a medical component. Psychologists are also part of the squad, they provide the necessary assistance to help the guys be in good mood. For many this level of competition is the first such event.  Of course, there is also excitement, and perhaps certain psychological factors. Therefore, it is a good practice, especially for those who are for the first time taking part in competitions of such a high level.

Belarus has already won their first medals. Silver and bronze in wrestling went to Soslan Daurov and Victor Sosunovsky.

Soslan Daurov, silver medalist of the first European Games in Baku:
Excellent conditions. Everything is great: food, accommodation, and the entertainment center - virtually any leisure is at our disposal. So there is nothing to complain about!

Victor Sosunovsky, bronze medalist of the first European Games in Baku:
We were preparing for it seriously. Each opponent came here for a medal and everyone fights until the end. 

The first three days of 1st European Games in Baku. Chronicle of the TV program Week