POSTED: February 13th 2012

Baku 2020: Eight elite athlete Ambassadors support the bid

Jamal Rahimov will be the first equestrian athlete to represent Azerbaijan at London 2012 / Baku 2020
Jamal Rahimov will be the first equestrian athlete to represent Azerbaijan at London 2012 / Baku 2020

Shooting bronze medalist Irada Ashumova / Baku 2020
Shooting bronze medalist Irada Ashumova / Baku 2020

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

TAMPA: On the eve of the submission of the applicant file to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) the Baku bid for the Olympic Games received an extra boost of support by eight elite level athlete ambassadors.  

Baku 2020 Bid CEO, Konul Nurullayeva, said, “It is a wonderful privilege to have the support of these elite athletes, all of them heroes in Azerbaijan.

“They all know what it means to compete at the very highest level. I am thrilled that they have agreed to be our Bid ambassadors and my highest wish is to bring the Olympic and Paralympic Games to Baku to honour their sporting achievements.”

The Baku bid issued the following support statements:

Ilham Zakiev, judo Paralympic Gold Medallist in 2004 and 2008, as well as four times European and twice World Champion, said, “To bring the Games to our region for the first time would be an incredible honour. This bid represents a unique opportunity for the world to discover modern Baku, and to encourage the young people with disabilities to participate in sports and to get inspired to realise their full potential in life.”

Elnur Mammadli, Olympic Gold Medallist in judo at Beijing 2008, said: “Having participated in the Olympic Games, I fully support the Baku Bid to bring this unique and incredible celebratory experience to my home country. Hosting the Olympic Games to Baku will stimulate the development of new sports in Azerbaijan and will be an inspiration for many other young and ambitious Azeri sportsmen and sportswomen. Azerbaijan has much to offer and I am convinced that Baku will be able to organise the ultimate Olympic Games of the Future.”

Zemfira Meftaheddinova, Olympic shooting Gold Medal in 2000 and 2004 Bronze Medal, said: “It will be an unforgettable experience for the Azerbaijani people, but I am also confident that Azerbaijanis can make this an unforgettable experience for the rest of the world. Azerbaijan is a very welcoming country and it has already shown that it can host world class sporting events. I think Baku deserves to win!”

Olympic wrestler Namig Abdullayev, 2000 Gold medal winner, said: “Winning the bid to host the 2020 Olympics would be as great as winning an Olympic medal. This Bid will raise the profile of Azerbaijan and Baku around the world and will show that there is more to discover here than people might think. I fully support the Baku 2020 Bid and wish it every success.”

Farid Mansurov, Gold medallist in greco-roman wrestling, said: “Winning the 2004 Gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling in Athens was a moment of pure joy as an athlete. Wrestling is an ancient discipline for both Greece and Azerbaijan, and this brought our nations closer together. I support the 2020 Baku bid. It is great opportunity for Azerbaijan to help create new ties across the world.”

Shooting Olympic bronze medallist in 2004, Irada Ashumova, said the bid would boost women’s sports in the country. “Promoting women in sports is crucial,” she said. “Azerbaijan is taking active steps to encourage its youth in this direction. After all, Azerbaijan was one of the first countries to grant women the right to vote.  As an athlete and a coach I support the bid to bring the 2020 bid to Baku.”

Show jumper Jamal Rahimov, who will participate at London 2012, said: “In Azerbaijan, the local Karabakh horse is our national animal and I was honoured to participate in the Beijing Olympic Games as my country’s first equestrian athlete.  My fellow riders and I have all noticed an important rise in the enthusiasm for our discipline in the last 4 years. Generally Azerbaijanis love sports! Bringing the Olympics to Baku would help cultivate excitement for riding but also many more sports in Azerbaijan.”


Chess Grandmaster Teimour Radjabov said: “I am thrilled that Baku has put itself forward as a possible host for the 2020 Olympics. It will provide sportsmen with the opportunity to compete at the top of their field. I hope it will inspire people to get active and develop their interest in sport, whether this is an intellectual sport or physical sport!"

Baku is in the race for the 2020 summer Games together with Doha, Istanbul, Madrid, Rome and Tokyo.  

Keywords · Baku 2020 · Olympic bidding · Ilham Zakiev · Elnur Mammadli · Elnur Mammadli · Zemfira Meftaheddinova · Namig Abdullayev · Farid Mansurov · Irada Ashumova · Jamal Rahimov · Teimour Radjabov

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Laura Walden ()

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