In the Olympic Village of athletes in Baku, where members of the Russian Olympic team live, a solemn welcoming ceremony was held for the young athletes who will start competing at the XV Summer European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) on Monday.
The event was attended by President of the Russian Olympic Committee Stanislav Pozdnyakov, Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy in the Republic of Azerbaijan Sergey Stepanov, Head of Rossotrudnichestvo (Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States) in Azerbaijan Valentin Denisov, as well as the founder and chief designer of ZASPORT Anastasia Zadorina.
– I am glad that we managed to get together in this cosy courtyard of the Olympic Village on the eve of the opening ceremony of the XV Summer European Youth Olympic Festival, – said Stanislav Pozdnyakov in his welcoming speech to the athletes. – These competitions can be the most important ones in your career and will provide a unique Olympic experience. While your peers spent their time going out and having fun, you worked hard during training. Now they will watch your performances on TV. I can say that I envy the young athletes in a good way, because when I was a child there were no such festivals.
In my opinion, the Russian Olympic team may well get first place in the medal standings. In case of excess luggage due to the large number of medals, the ROC will happily cover all the necessary costs. Remember that, above all, sport is friendship and I hope that you find new comrades in Baku, – added the President of the ROC.
Minister-Counsellor of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Azerbaijan Sergey Stepanov welcomed and expressed his wishes to the members of the Russian delegation.
– I am glad to welcome everyone to the warm and welcoming land of Azerbaijan. We have done everything so that you can concentrate only on the sports competitions. Very soon, many of you will become future Olympians. Be honest, respect your opponents, act in accordance with the Olympic Charter, and return to Russia with Olympic medals and positive emotions. I wish that you achieve all the goals that were set and get acquainted with the wonderful city of Baku.
Head of the Federal Agency for CIS Affairs in Azerbaijan Valentin Denisov reminded the participants of EYOF-2019 about the victories of Russia on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
– Baku hosts many international tournaments every month. During the 1st European Games, which were held here in 2015, we organised the House of Fans for all sports enthusiasts of Team Russia. I invite you to come around to the Federal Agency for CIS Affairs where it was located so that you could revisit and feel the triumphant atmosphere.
Several hours after the event in the Olympic Village, the young athletes are to take part in the parade of athletes preceding the opening ceremony of EYOF. There is no doubt that in the evening our team dressed in white ZASPORT outfits will be the most stylish and noticeable.
– Your presence in Baku suggests that you have already claimed your first victories. Keep up the good work and know that we will be supporting you from the stands, – said Anastasia Zadorina, founder and chief designer of ZASPORT.
The response on the part of the team was truly emotional and touching and was made by the senior coach of the track-and-field athletes Yevgeny Kozlov. He began by thanking the President of the ROC Stanislav Pozdnyakov for the opportunity to perform under the national flag.
– Athletics as a sport is experiencing difficult times. I would like to thank Stanislav Pozdnyakov for the opportunity given to the young athletes who can use the necessary activity kits and perform under the Russian flag. This actually gives me goosebumps. I hope the festival will be a step towards the full admission of our team to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Due to her young age and excitement, cyclist Valeria Valgonen, who will perform at EYOF-2019 in a secondary discipline — road racing instead of track racing, was a bit reserved in her speech to her fellow teammates and guests of the ceremony. The athlete thanked everyone for the opportunity to be part of the Russian Olympic team and wished everyone good luck.
The first medals have already been won by our athletes: bronze medals were won by Greco-Roman wrestlers Maxim Gurov (up to 45 kg) and Danil Grigoriev (up to 55 kg), as well as freestylers Eldar Asakaev (up to 45 kg) and Magomed-Emi Eltemirov (up to 55 kg). We are hoping that tomorrow silver and gold medals will be won.