(ATR) European Olympic Committees president Pat Hickey tells Around the Rings that Armenia is set to participate at the Baku European Games.
The Irish IOC Executive Board member travelled with IOC president Thomas Bach to the Armenian capital Yerevan on Wednesday for talks across a range of sporting issues. Political tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan had threatened the country’s involvement in next summer’s inaugural continental Games.
The IOC officials met with the president of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan to discuss the development of sport in the country.
"We discussed Olympic Agenda 2020 and the importance of sport retaining its autonomy from governments," Hickey told ATR.
"President Bach emphasized sport’s ability to transcend politics, but also that actions taken in the name of sport do have political implications."
"President Bach and I also had a very positive meeting with the president of the Armenian NOC [Gagik Tsarukyan] and it is his wish that Armenia will participate in the inaugural European Games next year."
Hickey added: "The Armenian NOC will send a delegation to the EOC General Assembly in Baku in November and they will confirm their intentions there after consulting with various other stakeholders."
An IOC release said that Bach promised Armenia’s president Serzh Sargsyan the IOC and EOC "will make every effort so that Armenia is satisfied with the outcome of the negotiations and the required conditions are provided to Armenian sportsmen and their coaches in the host country".
While in Yerevan, the IOC delegation attended the unveiling of a monument of Hrant Shahinyan, the first Armenian Olympic champion. Shahinyan was a two-time Olympic champion, winning two gold medals and two silvers ingymnastics at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. He was also a two-time world champion.
During their stay, Bach and Hickey also visited the new headquarters of the Armenian NOC as well as the Olympic Sports Complex.
Reported by Mark Bisson.
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