Preliminary Programme Announced for European Games

Athletics and boxing are still to sign up for the inaugural Olympics-style European Games taking place in Baku in 2015 – but swimming will be involved, despite the World Championships being held that summer in Kazan.

There are World Championships in athletics and boxing in 2015 – the Bird’s Nest in Beijing stages the athletics with Russia, Qatar and Vanuatu battling to host the World Boxing.

Karate is the only non-Olympic sport signed up so far.

The full press release reads –

The preliminary programme was published today for the inaugural European Games taking place in Baku in 2015. This follows the conclusion of the first visit of the European Olympic Committee (EOC) Coordination Commission to the Azerbaijan capital to inspect early preparations.

Swimming has now been added to the list of sports, having not been included on the initial list, but athletics is still notable by its absence.

Boxing still also has to agree to join the programme but if both eventually sign up there will be 19 sports, featuring more than 6,000 competitors, taking part at Baku 2015.

The other sports included are archery, badminton, canoeing, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, judo, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon, volleyball and wrestling, along with karate, the only non-Olympic sport included so far.

EOC Coordination Commission Baku April 30 2013

“We have been overwhelmed with the demand for places by European Federations for the European Games in 2015,” said Pat Hickey, President of the EOC.

“However, we have a clear long-term strategic vision for the European Games in terms of size and affordability and we have been very careful about the sports we have chosen.

“This has resulted in a very attractive sports programme for 2015 and a large number of sports are on the waiting list for the next European Games in 2019.

“We are still in discussions with the athletics and boxing federations which we hope to finalise in the coming weeks.”

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, whose wife Mehriban is head of the Baku 2015 Organising Committee, promised that the Games would be memorable.

“We are going to organize these Games on the level of the summer Olympic Games,” he said.

“The hosting of the European Games in Baku proves that the European heritage exists here for centuries.

“One of our main goals is to create the atmosphere of comfort and safety for sportsmen, guests and tourists who visit Baku for the first time, for them to feel at ease and enjoy this wonderful international event.”

Patrick Hickey with Baku 2015 chair
EOC President Patrick Hickey holds talks with Mehriban Aliyev, Azerbaijan’s First Lady, who is also head of the Organising Committee

Spyros Capralos, chairman of the EOC Coordination Commission, was impressed with Baku’s early planning.

“We have had two days of very productive meetings with the Local Organising Committee and are satisfied with the progress they have made since being awarded the Games in December 2012,” he said.

“The sport facilities are world class and the Athletes Village is one of the best we have ever seen. These Games will be centred on the athletes and will create a new generation of stars for Europe.

“However, there is much work to be done, there are only two years left and the Coordination Commission will be closely monitoring the progress of Baku 2015 in the months ahead.”

– Will Downing

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