Baku Visionaries

Sky’s the limit as Azerbaijan builds for the future

Ilham-AliyevIn just two decades, Azerbaijan has put itself on the map as a country capable of hosting major sporting events. As preparations continue for the biggest event to come to the country, Duncan Mackay reports on how Azerbaijan under President Ilham Aliyev is building for the future.

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev is a man who realises how important sport is in helping a country build its brand and reputation.

Azerbaijan has earned a reputation among many international federations as a good and reliable partner when it comes to staging major events.

First Lady of the European Games

Baku 2015 First LadyAzerbaijan's First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva is playing an active role in ensuring that Baku hosts a successful inaugural European Games next year.

She is not just head of the Organising Committee but actively involved in overseeing the preparations. This has included greeting and being involved in the work of the Coordination Commission set up by the European Olympic Committees when they travel to the Azerbaijani capital to check on how things are going. It is a sign of how well things have been progressing that the Commission have ended each of their three visits full of praise for the organisation.

Azad Rahimov

Minister of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Azerbaijan,
Chief Executive Officer of Baku 2015 European Games Operation Committee


Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijan's Minister of Youth and Sports, is the man entrusted with delivering history.

He is responsible for turning the vision of the European Games - an event talked about for more than 20 years - into reality in 2015.

With the European Olympic Committees awarding the Games to Baku at its General Assembly in Rome only in December 2012 it means that the build-up will be more of a sprint than a marathon.

Most cities awarded events of this scale are given at least seven years to prepare but Baku have been given less than three and the clock is ticking ever faster, it seems.