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In the News

Azerbaijan awards EOC head with Sharaf order

June 17, 2015

By Nigar Orujova

Azerbaijan awarded Patrick Hickey, the president of the European Olympic Committees, with the Sharaf Order, one of the nation’s highest awards.

President Ilham Aliyev issued an order on June 17 to award the EOC head with the great distinction.

The head of state presented the high Order to Patrick Hickey on the same day.

"First of all, I want to congratulate you on the jubilee. I am very glad that you are celebrating your birthday in Baku, I am sure, the capital of the country that is very close to you. I take this opportunity to thank you for the work carried out in the name of sport, the Olympic Movement in Europe," said the Head of State.

"As a member of the European Olympic family for about 20 years, I know about your commitment to the development of sport in our continent, your work and dedication. I remember a time when we were together involved in the meetings of the European Olympic Committee," the president said.

The president stressed with regret that he could not participate in the meetings at present due to his presidential duties. "But I watch closely your activities. I want to congratulate you on the great success achieved in the promotion of European sport in the world," President Aliyev said.

The president further emphasized that a decision to organize the first European Games supported by the European Olympic family was historic. “We are proud to hold the first Games in Baku. This allows us to introduce our country, to demonstrate our capabilities, and to organize a big event.”

“We see great public interest in this event. I am confident that at the end of the Games, we will witness increasing interest of thousands of people, especially children, to sport, their desire to become champions. It will play a very positive role in the future development of sport in Azerbaijan,” the president stressed.

The Head of State went on to add that he signed a decree to award Hickey with one of the highest awards of Azerbaijan – The Sharaf Order - in view of the great achievements in the development of sports in Europe and Azerbaijan.

Patrick Hickey thanked the president for the distinguished award.

"Together we have come a long way. I personally know you for many years. Now I got the opportunity to learn more about Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis. It seemed my second home. I had a great feeling here; I see every respect shown for me.”

“I am getting feedback about the organization of the Games, the venues, rivalry, as well as hospitality from all over Europe. So far, I have not received any complaints about anything, whether it is transportation, meals or other issues,” Hickey stressed.

Baku is hosting the inaugural European Games. A first for the continent, the Games started in the Azerbaijani capital on June 12 bringing together over 6,000 athletes from 50 European countries and will last for 17 days.

Baku was awarded the honor to host the first European Games at the 41st EOC General Assembly in Rome, in December 2012. The European Games will take place every four years thereafter, with the next competition due to be held in 2019.

At present, the EOC stated it is extremely happy with the results of the first days of the competitions.

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