The 5th of March is the Physical Education and Sport Day in Azerbaijan. This day was established by the order of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on 4th of March 2005.
The celebration of the Physical Education and Sports Day on the 5th of March isn’t coincidental. The 5th of March 1995 was the day when the National Leader Heydar Aliyev met with the winners of the World and European championships in the Baku Sports Palace, created the Sports Fund and accepted a new strategy for the development of physical education and sport.
We can proudly say that Azerbaijan has been transformed into one of the world’s sport capitals. It’s not only the capital of Baku, almost every region of Azerbaijan has functioning modern Olympic sport complexes. More than 50 Olympic sport complexes and a number of great arenas for different sports have been established in recent years. All of these new sport complexes have a positive effect on the development of sports in the regions of Azerbaijan. At the moment Olympic sport complexes are built in the regions.
The development of sports in Azerbaijan can be proven by the number of medals awarded to Azeri athletes in the Olympic Games. The national team of Azerbaijan managed to win just one medal in the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996, the number which was raised to 3 in the Sydney Olympics and 5 in those in Athens. During the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Azerbaijan gained 7 medals,which put the nation on the 38th position among 200+ participants. Our athletes were awarded 10 medals at the 2012 Olympics in London. Azeri athletes further upped their result in last year’s XXXI Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, receiving 18 medals.
Azerbaijan also showed great results in the Rio Paralympics as well. The Paralympic athletes returned home from Brazil with 11 medals.
2015 as a year is engraved in golden letters into Azerbaijan’s sport history. The country hosted the Baku 2015 1st European Games on a high level. The fact that the European Olympic Committee entrusted Azerbaijan with the responsibility of being the first ever host is proof of the country’s recognition as a strong sport nation. Despite only having 2.5 years to prepare for the Games, Azerbaijan stunned the world by staging a global scale event on newly built amazing arenas in a very short time and setting the bar very high for the subsequent European Games. This success was further heightened by the victories of Azeri athletes. In the First European Games, our athletes received 56 medals – 18 gold, 18 silver and 20 bronze. Azerbaijan ranked 2nd among 50 countries.
The country hosted the Formula 1 European Grand Prix and the 42nd International Chess Olympics last year.
Azerbaijan, which became a new member of the sport family of the world, will host a number of subsequent events. Just in the following year Azerbaijan will host three global scale tournaments. The country is preparing for the IV Islamic Games in May, Formula-1 Grand Prix in June and the European Junior Women’s Volleyball Championsip in September-October.
All of this success shows that the popularity of sport in Azerbaijan is rapidly increasing. We can confidently say that Azerbaijan has healthy youth, and, therefore, has a healthy future.