Trend presents an interview with Minister of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan Farid Gayibov.
Today marks a year since you’ve been appointed as minister. How would you evaluate the work done up until now?
This year was very fruitful for me, as during the year we worked on various projects. The ministry jointly with sports federations began implementing tasks by studying the current state of sports and defining a strategy. During the regular meetings, we always try to coordinate our decisions with the sports federations and clubs, which are actively engaged in promoting sports policy. In the reporting period, the composition of the federations has been subjected to changes. President Ilham Aliyev highly commended these amendments and noted the significance of further activities.
Thus, during this period we have managed to implement numerous projects, while some of them are still being in development. We also visited the country’s regions, met with young people, as well as got acquainted with youth organizations. In total, I think it's been a productive year. Each successful project was the result of joint activities of the federations and youth organizations that were working on an equal footing with the ministry.
President Ilham Aliyev has always been attentive to Azerbaijani athletes. As a result of this attention, our athletes performed successfully at international competitions. The Islamic Solidarity Games in Türkiye was one of such events, where our athletes achieved great success...
This year the National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan turns 30 years old, and for the last 25 years it has been headed by President Ilham Aliyev. During this period, many Olympic complexes and sports facilities have been built, lots of sports disciplines have been developed not only in Baku, but also in all the districts. Baku hosted the first European Games, the Islamic Solidarity Games, various European championships, as well as world championships. The fact that Azerbaijan was represented in 22 sports out of 24 existing ones, and had the largest delegation among 54 countries at the last Islamic Solidarity Games, testifies to the high-level development of sports in Azerbaijan.
The concern of President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva for our athletes is a huge incentive for them. The president and the first lady’s visits to the Athletes village before the start of the Games and receiving the athletes following the end of the Games is a great motivation for the participants. In total, during this year, President Ilham Aliyev has been receiving Azerbaijani athletes, representing different sports, several times. As it is known, world championships are to begin soon, and I do believe that our athletes will do well representing the country.
What are your expectations from international competitions?
We expect successful outcome from some sporting activities. Azerbaijan always aspires for medals in wrestling, but there are some sports disciplines, where reaching the finals is itself an achievement. Two years to wait until the Olympic Games, there are different events held, including world championships, and Azerbaijan's federations are doing their best to obtain the maximum amount of licenses.
You previously mentioned structural changes that have taken place in the federations this year. Is there any federation which is also supposed to undergo such changes?
Azerbaijan has a large number of federations, so when the time comes they will hold their own elections. Usually elections take place after the end of the Olympic competitions. Some federations had delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while some of them had to change their charters.
Which efforts are being made to develop sports in Azerbaijani districts? Almost all our districts have Olympic centers and sports complexes. However, there is a certain degree of inactivity in some cases. Are there plans to promote further development of sports in the districts?
There are lots of Olympic complexes that are engaged in development of several sports. The Ministry of Youth and Sports is eager to develop new sporting activities in some complexes. This process requires specialists, and we will try to prepare them with the help of federations. Most of the federations have created departments for the regions. They are working on holding inter-regional competitions for the development of specialists there.
The youth policy is being perfectly implemented in Azerbaijan. The country's leadership attaches great importance to educating young people in a way committed to national and spiritual values. During the second Karabakh war, we witnessed the patriotism of the Azerbaijani youth. Today this policy continues. How the ministry’s youth policy works and how do you see the work with young people in the future?
There are Youth Houses in various cities of Azerbaijan, carrying out numerous projects. Youth work is a dynamic area that must move towards modernity. Also, we should not forget about our traditions. Therefore, we are reviewing the Youth Houses’ activities and trying to pay more attention to areas that could interest young people. For the first time, the ministry held summer camps for youth in Azerbaijani districts. We will also continue organizing such camps in winter.
What are your goals for the future? Any word on the new projects?
The ministry is working on different mass-oriented projects. On Sundays, we gather in public places and encourage people to do sports. Various races and swimming competitions are being organized not only in Baku, but also in other cities.