2015 European Games

I European Games
Host city Baku, Azerbaijan
Nations participating 50
Athletes participating 5,898
Events 253 in 20 sports
Opening ceremony June 12
Closing ceremony June 28
Officially opened by President Ilham Aliyev
Torch lighter Ilham Zakiyev, Said Guliyev, Aydemir Aydemirov and Nargiz Nasirzade
Main venue Baku National Stadium
Website baku2015.com
2019  >

The 2015 European Games, also known as Baku 2015 or Baku 2015 European Games (Azerbaijani: Bakı 2015 Avropa Oyunları), were the inaugural edition of the European Games, an international multi-sport event for athletes representing the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of the European Olympic Committees. It took place in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 12 to 28 June 2015,[1] and featured almost 6,000 athletes from 50 countries competing in 20 sports.[2][3]

Host city selection

Baku was awarded the right to host the first European Games at the 41st EOC General Assembly in Rome, on 8 December 2012. The European Games will take place every four years thereafter, with the next competition due to be held in 2019.

The decision was made as a result of secret balloting, where of 48 votes, 38 were in favor of the sole bidder for the event.[4] Eight votes were against, and two more abstained from voting. The representatives of Armenia refused to take part in the voting.[5]


The Organising Committee responsible for the inaugural European Games in Baku was established by decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Committee is chaired by the First Lady of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva,[6] member of the Executive Committee of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. Baku 2015 European Games Operations Committee (BEGOC) was established under the direction of the Chairperson of the Organising Committee.

The Chief Executive Officer of BEGOC is Azad Rahimov, Minister of Youth and Sport while the Chief Operating Officer is Simon Clegg.[6]


National Gymnastics Arena on a stamp

There were four clusters and 18 competition venues for the inaugural European Games, including 12 that were designed to become permanent venues. Five of the venues were new-builds: the National Gymnastics Arena, BMX Velopark, Baku Aquatics Centre, Baku Shooting Centre and National Stadium. There were six temporary venues: Water Polo Arena, Beach Arena, Basketball Arena, Mountain Bike Velopark, Triathlon, Cycling road race and time trial.

The Athletes Village, located in the Nizami raion of Baku,[7] comprises 13 buildings, 16 different types of apartments with three to four bedrooms per apartment.[8]

Key to colours
E Existing
N New
T Temporary
Village cluster
Venue Sports Capacity
Baku National Stadium Ceremonies, athletics 68,000 N
National Gymnastics Arena Gymnastics 6,862 N
Flag square cluster
Venue Sports Capacity
Baku Aquatics Centre Swimming, diving, synchronized swimming 6,000 N
Water Polo Arena Water polo 2,400 T
Beach Arena Beach soccer, beach volleyball 3,900 T
Basketball Arena 3x3 basketball 2,500 T
Crystal Hall Volleyball 6,000 E
Boxing 3,400
Fencing, karate, taekwondo 2,000
City cluster
Venue Sports Capacity
Baku Sports Hall Badminton, table tennis 1,700 E
Tofiq Bahramov Stadium Archery 31,200 E
Heydar Aliyev Arena Judo, wrestling, sambo 7,700 E
Other venues
Venue Sports Capacity
Baku Shooting Centre Shooting 500 N
Mountain Bike Velopark Mountain biking 1,670 T
BMX Velopark Cycling BMX 1,600 N
Bilgah Beach Triathlon 1,500 T
Kur Sport and Rowing Centre, Mingachevir Canoe sprint 1,300 E


Ticket for judo competitions

Baku 2015 European Games launched an online sales page on its website to allow fans purchasing tickets for the inaugural event.[9]

Adult tickets for sport sessions range between AZN 2 – AZN 5, according to competition round (for example preliminary or final), seat category, and venue.


Organisers aimed to recruit 12,500 volunteers to play roles during the Games, including assisting athletes and dignitaries, working at sport competitions, or providing assistance to spectators or the media. Baku 2015 European Games volunteers were called Flamekeepers.[10] 6,000 Ceremonies Performers will voluntarily take part in the opening and closing ceremonies.[11]

Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony started on 12 June in the National Stadium[12] and was directed by artistic choreographer Dimitris Papaioannou who was praised for his work during 2004 Summer Olympics.[13][14][15][16] Singer Lady Gaga performed "Imagine", a cover from John Lennon at the event.[17] The shapeshifting scene featured the representations of Yanar Dag and the Gobustan rock carvings, in particular.[18] The woman on the stage (Nargiz Nasirzade) and the man (Aydemir Aydemirov) embodied the arrival of spring. Two thousand artists gathered at the scene to perform the yalli dance at the end.[18] The opening ceremony was broadcast live on the official YouTube channel of the Games. The ceremony was attended by several heads of states and other officials.[18]

Closing ceremony

The Closing Ceremony was held on 28 June in the National Stadium. James Hadley was the Artistic Director and Christian Steinhäuser was the Music Director of the Closing Ceremony.[19]


Participating NOCs

All countries participating in the 2015 European Games in green. Host country (Azerbaijan) in purple.

50 national olympic committee participated in this Europead including Olympic Committee of Kosovo first time at wide multi-sport event. Since the Faroe Islands and Gibraltar are not members of the European Olympic Committee, the Faroese participants occurred for the Ligue Européenne de Natation and the Gibraltar participants for the Athletic Association of Small States of Europe.

Participating National Olympic Committees[20]


A total of 20 sports will be represented: 16 Olympic sports, two Olympic sports contested only in non-Olympic formats (basketball and football) and two non-Olympic sports (karate and sambo). Two para-sport events were contested judo. Twelve of the sports (archery, athletics, boxing, cycling, judo, shooting, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon, volleyball, wrestling) will offer qualification opportunities for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The aquatic sports are only open to junior-level competitors, and the athletics competition forms the third division of the European Team Championships.


The competition schedule consists of 253 events.[22][23] The Agenda as the competition schedule may change.

OCOpening ceremony Event competitions 1Event finals CCClosing ceremony
June 12th
       CeremoniesOC CC
Archery 1 2 1 1 5
Athletics 1 1
Badminton 2 3 5
Basketball (3x3) 2 2
Beach soccer 1 1
Boxing 5 5 5 15
Canoe sprint 5 10 15
Cycling BMX 2 8
Mountain biking 2
Road cycling 2 1 1
Diving 2 2 2 2 8
Fencing 2 2 2 3 3 12
Gymnastics 2 1 2 3 10 16 34
Judo 5 6 5 2 18
Karate 6 6 12
Sambo 8 8
Shooting 3 3 2 2 3 3 3 19
Swimming 7 8 9 7 11 42
Synchronised swimming 2 2 4
Table tennis 2 2 4
Taekwondo 2 2 2 2 8
Triathlon 1 1 2
Volleyball 1 1 1 1 4
Water polo 1 1 2
Wrestling 4 4 4 4 4 4 24
Total 13 11 15 21 11 16 11 18 25 13 9 10 21 23 27 9 253
June 12th

Medal table

2015 European Games medal table
 Rank  NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Russia (RUS) 79 40 45 164
2  Azerbaijan (AZE)* 21 15 20 56
3  Great Britain (GBR) 18 10 19 47
4  Germany (GER) 16 17 33 66
5  France (FRA) 12 13 18 43
6  Italy (ITA) 10 26 11 47
7  Belarus (BLR) 10 11 22 43
8  Ukraine (UKR) 8 14 24 46
9  Netherlands (NED) 8 12 9 29
10  Spain (ESP) 8 11 11 30
Total (42 NOCs) 253 253 338 844

  *   Host nation (Azerbaijan)


International Sports Broadcasting (ISB) will be the host broadcaster of the European Games.[24] During the Games, ISB will produce an anticipated 800 hours of broadcast coverage.

Rest of the world


Human rights situation and media bans

Amnesty International have been a vocal critic of the Baku 2015 European Games, stating in March 2015, "Azerbaijan may be a safe country for athletes taking part in the 100 metres, but defending rights and free speech is a dangerous game here. Those who champion them receive harassment and prison sentences instead of medals.".[51] In August 2014, the human rights organisation highlighted the 24 prisoners of conscience being held in Azerbaijan prisons as an example of abuses.[52] Western countries also criticized Aliyev's intention to close the OSCE offices in Baku.[53]

In June 2015, The Guardian reported that its own reporters, along with those of other media outlets, had been barred from entering Baku to cover the games. Human Rights Watch, in the same article, stated it had observed "the worst crackdown the country has seen in the post-Soviet era".[54]

Most European heads of state and government refused to participate at the opening ceremony,[55] sending mid- or low-level representatives instead. Among those who did participate were Vladimir Putin of Russia, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey, Aleksander Lukashenko of Belarus, Boyko Borisov of Bulgaria and Victor Ponta of Romania. Ponta and Borisov faced criticism at home for their participation.[53]

Bus accident

For many, the Games were overshadowed by a road accident, where a coach driver ploughed into a group of young Austrian athletes when mixing up accelerator and brake, with the incident recorded by a surveillance camera. 15-year-old Austrian synchronized swimmer Vanessa Sahinovic and her team mates Lisa Breit and Luna Pajer were injured. Sahinovic was placed in an induced coma and flown to Vienna for emergency surgery. Sahinovic was left paraplegic in the accident. Because of the accident, Austria had to withdraw from the team competition. In the synchronized swimming duet competition, sisters Anna-Maria and Eirini-Maria Alexandri however won the silver medal which they dedicated to the injured team mates. Sahinovic's mother said since she saw the video of the accident she is less despaired and kind of grateful that Vanessa is alive and her head is ok. The police officer releasing the video of the surveillance camera was relieved of his duties. Sahinovic works on her recovery, and is supported by an initiative of Austrian swimmers and a fundraising campaign.[56] [57][58] [59] [60] [61][62] [63] [64]


Logo and mascots

Mascots of the Games, Jeyran (gazelle) and Nar (pomegranate)

The official logo for the Baku 2015 European Games was unveiled on 16 June 2014.[65] Designed by Adam Yunusov, it was inspired by country’s ancient and contemporary culture.[66] The logo includes flame, water, the mythical Simurgh bird, an Azerbaijani carpet and a pomegranate as one of the symbols of Azerbaijani profusion.[66][67] The pomegranate, called Nar (pomegranate in Azerbaijani), is one of two mascots for the Games, along with a gazelle named Jeyran (gazelle in Azerbaijani). The couple are intended to represent the spirit of Azerbaijan and help excite the youth for the event.[68]

Brand and visual identity

The brand incorporates traditional Azerbaijani imagery with images and colours designed to evoke a European sporting feel. The pomegranate tree, whose fruit juice is one of Azerbaijan's main exports, features heavily. The brand was created with legacy potential in mind, possibly inspired by the way the Commonwealth Games’ branding retains a similar feel each year.[69]


On 21 May 2014, Procter & Gamble became the first official partner of the inaugural European Games.[70][71] Swiss watchmaker Tissot has been named the official timekeeper and will provide all timing and scoring services.[72] On 13 November 2014, Motorola Solutions also teamed up with Baku 2015 as the Official Radio Communications Supporter.[73]

Official partners Official supporters Official child rights organisation

Torch relay

On Sunday April 26 the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, captured the official flame of the Baku 2015 European Games.[74] The flame had visited 60 locations until the final torchbearer entered the National Stadium for the Opening Ceremony on 12 June.[75]



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