Armenia to Take Part in Baku Games

The first European Games will be hosted in Baku


BAKU, Azerbaijan (RFE/RL)—Armenia will participate in this year’s inaugural European Games in Azerbaijan, a spokesperson for the head of the Armenian National Olympic Committee (ANOC) has confirmed.

Iveta Tonoyan said the decision was made by the ANOC’s executive committee on Tuesday.

In the Games to be held in Baku in June Armenia is expected to be represented in sambo (unarmed self-defense), shooting, judo, wrestling, boxing and taekwondo.

Armenia has been hesitating about its participation in the Games in a country with which it is in a de facto state of war over Artsakh.

The ANOC did not give its definitive answer even after the Azerbaijani government provided security guarantees for Armenian athletes last September.

The matter was also discussed with Patrick Hickey, the president of the European Olympic Committee, who visited Armenia and Azerbaijan last year.

The hesitation of the ANOC also reflected the uneasy situation along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and around Artsakh where deadly incidents have increased dramatically since last August.

Prior to the latest escalation of tensions in the conflict zone it was not uncommon for Armenian and Azerbaijani athletes – notably wrestlers, weightlifters and boxers – to participate in international sporting competitions held in each other’s country. In all cases they have been provided with around-the-clock security escorts, with no serious incidents reported.

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2 Comments

  1. Vindicated Man said:

    Is this a joke? There are human rights organizations asking the European countries to boycott these games. And, if that’s not enough, there are animal ptotection agencies raising concerns about Baku’s authorities who are now shooting and burning every stray cat and dog (and are hunting every homeless person as well, by the way). Plus, it’s just plain dangerous (ample opportunity for being beheaded in your sleep). Plus their olympic stadium that is sinking due to poor construction practices (they are building it in an area with a high ground-water level).

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