Baku 2019 marks 50 Days to Go with celebratory activities

3 June 2019

This weekend marked 50 Days to Go until the start of the XV Summer European Youth Olympic Festival, and the Baku 2019 Organising Committee and National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan celebrated the occasion with a special event that featured the participation of 500 children.

The event, which coincided with International Children’s Day and the 125th anniversary of the modern Olympic Movement on 23 June, was supported by the Azerbaijan Ministry of Education. It included an Olympic Culture and Education Programme (OCEP) and took place at the Athletes Village for the EYOF, which are scheduled to take place from 21-27 July in the Azeri capital.

“The participation of children at today’s event is very important, because in addition to technical and operational preparations, we also set the goal of promoting the idea of sport among children,” said Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Youth and Sports and Baku 2019 CEO. “We would like to see as many children involved in sport and leading healthy lifestyles as possible.”

Chingiz Huseynzada, Vice President of the National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan, said the Olympic values of friendship, mutual respect, peace and excellence were a great message to promote at the Baku EYOF, which he stressed would have historical meaning for Azerbaijan.

Deputy Minister of Education for the Republic of Azerbaijan Firudin Gurbanov said that international programmes like the OCEP have great importance in the comprehensive development of schoolchildren and help to positively shape their world view.

A “Ready to Shine” campaign was also launched during the event. The campaign encourages kids from 13 to 16 years old to participate in five kinds of sport: basketball, cycling, athletics, tennis, and swimming. The respective national federations will hold open-door events for the next five weeks.

Baku 2019 Corporate Director Elchin Safarov noted that the campaign has several aims, including the promotion and familiarisation of the sports to kids and teenagers, as well as encouraging healthy lifestyles and the strengthening of friendships.

Children with the best results will get an opportunity to attend the Baku 2019 EYOF and get personal tips from pro athletes and their coaches.

“Winners will have a chance to communicate with, train and get advice from professional athletes and their coaches,” Safarov said. “This advice can be helpful in shaping children’s minds, especially at this age, when they need motivation to fulfil their dreams.”

The athletics, basketball, tennis, swimming and cycling federations all gave interactive presentations this weekend and provided interesting facts about each sport.

At the Athletes Village, meanwhile, 500 students from 49 schools competed in a 1 km distance run. The winners were presented with gifts and certificates.

Students participating in the OCEP were taken on a tour of the Athletes Village and introduced to the living, entertainment and exercise areas the athletes will enjoy this July.

The EYOF will feature seven days of competition in 10 sports: wrestling, tennis, basketball, handball, swimming, volleyball, cycling, athletics, artistic gymnastics, judo. The competition will take place at 12 venues, all of which are already existing, making this edition of the EYOF also one of the most sustainable. Wrestling joins the EYOF programme for the first time this year.

Some 3,600 athletes and team officials are expected to take part in Baku 2019, assisted by 2,500 volunteers.