Baku Preps to Welcome European Games Flame

(ATR)The games will open in the Azeri capital in just over a week.

(ATR)With almost one week to go until the opening of the inaugural European Games, the capital of Azerbaijan is preparing to welcome the Baku 2015 flame.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Baku 2015 announced the schedule of the final days of the European Games torch relay.

The flame is slated to arrive in Baku by boat on June 7, Baku 2015 organizers said, where it will visit the newly redeveloped White City. The final torchbearer of the day will carry the flame to the Maiden Tower.

During the final days of the torch relay, the flame will stop by several sites and venues including the Baku Aquatics Center, theHeydar Aliyev Arena, National Gymnastics Arena, and the BMX Velopark.

On June 11, the flame will travel down the shore of the Caspian Sea and Satko Pier before heading towards the Olympic Stadium.

Azad Rahimov, CEO of Baku 2015, said the torch relay has helped build excitement in Azerbaijan for the European Games.

"The journey of the flame has brought the spirit of Baku 2015 into the hearts of Azerbaijanis throughout the country."

Baku 2015 COO Simon Clegg echoed Rahimov's sentiments.

"The passion and energy of Baku's people, and their enthusiasm for these historic first European Games will be captured perfectly by the celebrations that will take place here during the journey of the flame."

Catherine Ugwu, Baku 2015 director of ceremonies, added,"The journey of the flame in Baku will be a wonderful way to involve the host city's residents in the Games, and to ensure that the best of Baku is showcased for the whole world to see ahead of the opening ceremony."

In all, the flame will travel more than 3,400 miles through 60 regions of Azerbaijan before the cauldron is lit at the opening ceremony.

Over 1,000 torchbearers will carry the flame across the breadth of the country, coming within an hour's traveling time of 99 percent of the population.

The 2015 European Games will run from June 12 to June 28.

Baku 2015 organizers say some 7,000 athletes from 50 NOCs will compete in 20 sports at the event.

Written byNicole Bennett

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