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Spotlight Article

Jeyran and Nar, Ambassadors of the 2015 European Games

Azerbaijan America Alliance
December 01, 2014

On November 26th, 2014, just as most Americans were preparing for Thanksgiving, Azerbaijan was celebrating 200 days until the 2015 Olympic games in Baku. The celebration featured a three-dimensional video projection on the iconic Maiden Tower, which showcased sports (Archery, Basketball, Boxing, Cycling and Fencing) and introduced the mascots of the event for the first time.

Mascots Jayran the Gazelle and Nar the Pomegranate will serve as ambassadors to the event, but they were chosen for more than just their ambassadorial skills. Jeyran and Nar are embodiments of Azerbaijan’s culture and history.

Jeyran and Nar Source: Baku2015.com

Jayran is a gazelle, and as such is a “symbol in the country of natural beauty, grace and purity.” Azerbaijan is famous for its natural beauty and the varied climates that can be found within its boarders. Nine of eleven climate zones are present in Azerbaijan and its protected regions make up a substantial 10.3% of the country. The country takes the responsibility to protect its natural beauty very seriously, and protects individual species as well as swaths of land; the gazelle is one of these protected species. However, do not assume Jayran got the job simply because she is a protected species. Her introduction on the Baku 2015 website reads,

“From high up in the Caucasus mountains to the shores of the Caspian Sea, Jeyran likes guiding visitors around the country and showing them all that Azerbaijan has to offer.”

The not so subtle nod to her impressive resume as an ambassador leaves one confident in her ambassadorial abilities.

Nar is not the seasoned professional Jayran is, however, he is “full of life and energy” and  “loves participating in new sports.” Clearly Nar was brought on board less for his professional accomplishments and more for his charisma and athletic ability. There are rumors he will even be getting involved in some of the sporting events! Nar grew up outside of the city of Goychay, and is a pomegranate. Azerbaijan is famous for its pomegranates, so I am sure there were many potential candidates for the position, but athletic pomegranates cannot be easy to come by.   

The decision to award Baku the Honor of being the first Host for the European Games was made in December of 2012 at the 41st General Assembly of the European Olympic Committee in Rome. The European Olympic Games opening ceremony will take place on Friday June 12th, 2014. The games will be held at 18 competition venues and feature 20 sports. The centerpiece of the venues will be the National Stadium, which will seat 65,000 spectators. Baku is expecting 6,000 athletes from 49 countries to compete in the games.  

The event is poised to be spectacular, and it would seem the ambassadors selected are more than qualified for their positions. Fans can look forward to three-dimensional renderings, animations, and of course merchandise featuring Azerbaijan’s new stars! 

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