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  • Azeri President Makes Big Pledge; Tokyo Governor Apologizes; IOC Member Now King


    04/30/13

    The European Games Coordination Commission meeting on Tuesday. (EOC)
    Azeri President Sets High Bar for Euro Games

    The president of Azerbaijan says the Baku 2015 European Games will be at the level of an Olympics.

    Ilham Aliyev made the comments Tuesday following a meeting of the European Games Coordination Commission.

    “We are going to organize these games on the level of the summer Olympic Games,” he was quoted by local media. “We will try to organize these games on a high level and they will certainly add to the history of the European Olympic family as the first games.”

    First Lady Mehriban, who is also Baku 2015 chairwoman, announced the dates of the opening and closing ceremony of the Games on Tuesday. The dates are Friday June 12 and Sunday June 28.

    Additionally, 17 sports on the Games program were announced, with European Olympic Committees president Patrick Hickey saying negotiations with athletics and boxing were underway, and terms will be finalized “in the coming weeks.”

    "We have been overwhelmed with the demand for places by European Federations for the European Games in 2015," he said.

    "However, we have a clear long-term strategic vision for the European Games in terms of size and affordability and we have been very careful about the sports we have chosen.

    "This has resulted in a very attractive Sports Programme for 2015 and a large number of sports are on the waiting list for the next European Games in 2019."

    Disciplines for each sport are also being finalized.

    Tokyo Governor Apologizes for Remarks

    Naoki Inose after the 2020 Evaluation Commission. (Getty Images)
    Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose has apologized for remarks he made to The New York Times on April 27, regarding 2020 rival Istanbul.

    In the article, he said: “but Islamic countries, the only thing they share in common is Allah and they are fighting with each other, and they have classes.” IOC rules forbid rival bid cities from commenting on other cities bidding for the Games.

    Inose said in a statement he is “fully committed” to abide with IOC rules and that his quotes failed to represent his “sincere and wider thoughts” on the 2020 campaign.

    "At the interview I underscored Tokyo's strengths as a city and its ability to provide the best platform for athletes, Olympic Family members and spectators alike,” he said. “Unfortunately, the article in question focused on a small number of comments relating to another bid city and therefore did not reflect my sincere and wider thoughts on the 2020 bid campaign.

    "I regrettably acknowledge, however, that some of my words might be considered inappropriate and consequently would like to offer my sincere apology.

    "My overwhelming passion and desire for Tokyo to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games remain strong. I look forward to the remainder of the bid campaign, where we will continue to enjoy a respectful and friendly rivalry with the other Bid cities."

    New York Times Sports Editor Jason Stallman told Japan’s Kyodo News that the newspaper got the story right.

    "Both New York Times reporters who interviewed Gov. Inose are fluent in Japanese. The governor also provided his own translator for the interview, and our quotations came from that translator. The translator's words were recorded."

    Bialov Doctor Finds Trace of Poison

    Akhmed Bialov. (Ria Novosti)
    The doctor treating former Russian Olympic official Akhmed Bialov says he found traces of arsenic. Bialov claimed he was poisoned over the weekend.

    Russian news agency Interfax cites a statement from the clinic of German doctor Wolfgang Kelling where Bialov is being treated saying arsenic was found in his blood.

    Bialov was forced to resign from his post after delays relating to Sochi Olympic construction that he was overseeing mounted.

    IOC Member Now a King

    Willem-Alexander (left) during his investiture. (Getty Images)
    Dutch IOC member Willem-Alexander is now King Willem-Alexander.

    His investiture ceremony at New Church in Amsterdam took place on Tuesday, with numerous royalty from around the world and IOC president Jacques Rogge in attendance.

    With his ascension, Willem-Alexander will resign his post as IOC member, effective Dec. 31.

    Written by Ed Hula III.

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