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MOSCOW, April 26. /TASS/. The flame of the first-ever European Games was lit on Sunday at Baku’s Ateshgyakh Temple of Fire-Worshipers. The Games Torch will travel across Azerbaijan for 48 days to be brought back to Baku for the opening ceremony on June 12.
More than 1,000 torch bearers will take part in the relay. They will be mostly the youth, since Azerbaijan is one of Europe’s youngest countries, with an average age of its residents being around 30, Simon Clegg, who is presently the European Games Executive Director and who took part in the preparations for the Olympic Games in London in 2012, told TASS. He said the Azerbaijanis could be proud of their country, which had done much to get prepared to host the first-ever European Games in just 30 months.
The upper section of the torch is shaped like a pomegranate with 50 seeds symbolizing the number of participating countries. The author of the idea is British industrial designer Sebastian Bergne.
Established at the General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees on December 9, 2012 in Rome, the European Games is a multi-sport event for athletes from all over Europe to be held every four years. The Games are owned, organised and regulated by the European Olympic Committees.
It is expected that more than 6,000 athletes will take part in competitions in 20 sports disciplines, 16 of which are Olympic sports.
Competitions in 11 sports - archery, athletics, boxing, beach volleyball, wrestling, cycling, shooting, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo and triathlon - will enjoy the status of qualifies ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Athletes will compete for 239 sets of medals in all.