Author: Sanan SHAFIZADE
Azerbaijan will remain one of the world sports centres in 2020. We are going to host world and European championships in a number of sports. As always, we present below the sports calendar for this year.
For the first time Baku will host the matches of the final stage of the European Football Championship. Fans will be able to watch three games of Group A and one match of the quarter-finals at the Baku Olympic Stadium. According to the draw, these will the team of Turkey, Italy, Wales and Switzerland in Group A. Italian team will play at home in Rome, the rest of the teams will meet in Baku.
For the first time in the history of the tournament, matches will be held in 12 cities of the continent in honour of the 60th anniversary of the championship. Baku was elected one of the hosts along with London, Munich, St. Petersburg, Rome, Copenhagen, Bucharest, Amsterdam, Dublin, Bilbao, Budapest, and Glasgow.
Baku is going to host 8 international gymnastics competitions, including the world and European championships. The year will open with the world championship in trampoline and tumbling at the National Gymnastics Arena on February 15-16. The tournament is licensed for the Tokyo Olympics. Thirty-one countries have already confirmed their participation in the championship.
Last year’s Trampoline World Championship held in Baku was also licensed for the Olympic Games. In 2018, the European championship in trampoline jumping with the participation of 26 countries was held in Baku. The Trampoline World Championship 2021 will also be held in Baku.
In March 2020, the National Gymnastics Arena will host two international gymnastics tournaments. The first of them, AGF Junior Trophy in men's gymnastics, will be held on March 7-8. On March 12-15, National Gymnastics Arena will receive the participants of the AGF Trophy 2020 World Gymnastics Championship, which will also qualify for Tokyo Summer Olympics 2020. According to the preliminary list of applications, the championship will be attended by athletes from 53 countries.
Rhythmic gymnastics competitions traditionally start in April. The open Yana Batyrshina Tournament will take place in Baku on April 17-19. This is the seventh such tournament, but it will be held in Baku for the first time. On April 24-26, Baku will host the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championship, which will also qualify for Tokyo Summer Olympics 2020.
In 2019, four international competitions were successfully held in Baku, including the world and European championships in rhythmic gymnastics.
Major international competitions await gymnasts in Baku in May. For the first time this year, Azerbaijan has been entrusted with the holding of two prestigious competitions in this sport. So, on May 8-10, the 9th World Competition among age groups in aerobic gymnastics will be held in the capital, 735 athletes from 35 countries filed applications for participation in it.
Then, on May 14-16, Azerbaijan will host the World Aerobics Championship. According to the preliminary list of competitions, 453 gymnasts from 33 countries are expected to participate. Last year, the same tournament was held in Baku for the first time.
The 34th European Men's Gymnastics Championships will complete the list of competitions. The tournament also qualifies for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Baku is going to host one of the most prestigious tournaments on the planet - Formula 1—for the fourth time in a row. For the past two years, the Baku City Ring has hosted races in April. This year, the fans of Formula 1 will be able to watch the breathtaking Grand Prix of Azerbaijan on June 5-7. The idea is to attract more tourists to Baku on the eve of the final stage of the European Football Championship.
Sputnik Azerbaijan reports that in 2020, Baku City Circuit (BCC) operating company intends to set a record for the number of tickets sold for the Grand Prix of Azerbaijan. This was announced during a press conference by the head of the commercial department of BCC, Bulent Ozerdim.
"For the first time, we sold a record number of tickets. Currently, 81% of tickets have been purchased by foreign citizens, and this year we intend to set a record for the total number of tickets sold for Formula 1 races in Baku," Ozerdim said. He noted that the Azerbaijan Grand Prix is one of the five best tournaments in the world by the percentage of satisfied foreigners who visited Baku during the race weekend.
During four years of these competitions, Azerbaijan's profit reached $506.3 million (₼860 million). According to the current agreement, Formula 1 races will be held in Azerbaijan until 2023.
This year, FIDE entrusted Azerbaijan with hosting the World Chess Olympiad among 16-year-olds. The ten-day tournament will start on October 2 in Nakhchivan. The previous youth Olympiad was held in Corum, Turkey and attended by chess players from 38 countries.
The winner of the Olympics among 15-year-olds was the Azerbaijani team, which scored 16 points. Young Azerbaijani chess players beat the teams from Russia, China, Canada, Israel and so on. Azerbaijan was followed by chess players from Uzbekistan (15 points), while the bronze medal was awarded to players from Belarus (14 points).
The traditional Vugar Hashimov International Tournament will be held again in Shamkir and will be attended by the most prominent representatives of world chess, including world champion Magnus Carlsen.
Martial arts and more
On March 25-29, Baku will also host the 55th European Karate Championship and the next continental championship in para-karate. About 630 athletes from 55 countries have already submitted applications for participation.
Another licensed tournament will bring together judokas from 50 countries in Baku. On May 12-15, the Grand Slam judo tournament will be held in Baku.
After a short break, it will be possible to attend the world shooting championship from June 22 to July 3 to be held in Azerbaijan too.
Baku will also host the European Polo Championship. Athletes from eight countries will gather in the capital of Azerbaijan to participate in the continental championship.
In other words, this year Azerbaijan will retain the status of a sports power. It will be doubly great if Azerbaijan's contribution to the development of world sports will also be accompanied by the success of Azerbaijani athletes in major competitions. The main goal of this sports year is a successful performance at the 32nd Tokyo Summer Olympic Games starting on July 24th.