Chef de Mission, Slovenia
1) Why has it taken so long for Europe to stage its first continental Games?
Probably the reason would be in the huge variety of different kind of sport competitions being held in Europe which makes it difficult to develop a new format of competition, especially with a full schedule already set up for years in the future.
2) What makes Baku the perfect host city to stage the inaugural European Games?
Baku will definitely organise an excellent Games because of great support from the Government and coordination by the EOC (European Olympic Committees).
3) How big do you think your team for Baku 2015 will be and how many sports will you be represented in?
We expect to bring 70 to 80 athletes in 16 sports.
4) How important is it for the success and appeal of the European Games that some sports afford athletes the opportunity to qualify for Olympic Games?
We find it very important; actually it is one of the keys for success of the Games in the future. It will motivate the best athletes to attend the Games and give them importance.
5) What is the significance of the Games for the European Olympic Movement and how confident are you that they will become sport’s flagship event on the continent?
It could become very significant for the European Olympic Movement, but crucial will be the years after the first edition of the Games. How the Games will develop, who will host the next Games, what will be the legacy of the first Games for Europe? The answers to these kind of questions will show the significance.
6) How impressed have you been by the facilities to be used for the European Games and the work of the Baku 2015 Organising Committee in ensuring their delivery and readiness?
We were very impressed by all the work and commitment people working in the Organising Committee are showing every day. Venues will be fantastic and we are sure the athletes will have a magnificent experience in Baku.
7) Are there any sports not represented that you would like to see in the European Games?
Of course we also have our own opinion about the sport programme but for us, more important than which sports are missing, is the quality of the sports on the programme. We hope the best athletes will compete at the Games although in some sports we cannot expect them.
8) How symbolic is it that the first ever European Games will take place in a country that has experienced a major re-birth of its own since gaining independence in 1991?
The opening of the Games will definitely be very emotional and a proud moment for the people of Azerbaijan. They will show to Europe and to the world what they have achieved in 24 years of independence.
9) How interested do you think the public in your country will be in the Games?
At the moment there is not much interest from the public. We’ll try to bring out the best of the Games to the people so they can identify with the Games and we think they will give great support to the athletes.
10) What are you looking forward to most at Baku 2015?
The energy that will be present in the Athlete’s Village and the competition.
Interview by Daniel Etchells