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BAKU, June 28. /TASS/. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin congratulated the national team with the victory at the first European Games, which are closing on Sunday.
The Russian athletes have gained an early victory in the medal standing.
"Our team has added another glorious page to the history of the national sports. My congratulations!," the greeting reads. "The competitions were tense. The success depended not only on the skills, but also on the psychological strength, the spirit of a team. You have demonstrated all those features."
The president offered "special gratitude to coaches, to all who assisted the athletes to participate in the competitions in Baku."
"All together you have proved the big potential and reserve our national team has. I am sure that means a successful participation of Russia in the XXXI Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro," he said addressing to the athletes and coaches. "Once again, I congratulate you with the triumph. I wish you good health and new victories."
Russia has beefed up its lead in the medals table of the 1st European Games, underway this month in the Azerbaijani capital Baku, after Day 16 of the international sports competition.
As of Saturday, the Russian athletes have already bagged a total of 161 medals, which include 78 gold, 40 silver and 43 bronze medals and they are followed by hosts Azerbaijan with 56 medals (21 gold, 15 silver and 20 bronze medals).
According to the official website of the tournament, the top ten standings of the national teams at the 1st European Games in Baku as of June 27 are as follows:
1. Russia - 161 medals (78-40-43)
2. Azerbaijan - 56 medals (21-15-20)
3. Great Britain - 47 medals (18-10-19)
4. Germany - 64 medals (15-16-33)
5. Italy - 45 medals (10-25-10)
6. Belarus - 43 medals (10-11-22)
7. France -38 medals (9-11-18)
8. Ukraine - 45 medals (8-14-23)
9. Netherlands - 28 medals (8-11-9)
10. Hungary - 20 medals (8-4-8)
The First European Games are held in the Azerbaijani capital Baku on June 12-28, with athletes competing for 253 sets of medals in 20 sports.
Competitions in 11 sports - archery, athletics, boxing, beach volleyball, wrestling, cycling, shooting, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo and triathlon - are also the qualifiers for athletes to reserve places in their national teams for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.
The current competition in Baku is the inaugural edition of the European Games, which is the multi-sport event embracing athletes from the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of Europe.
The Azerbaijani capital was awarded the historic right to be the first city hosting the European Games on December 8, 2012 at the 41st European Olympic Committee (EOC) General Assembly in Italy’s Rome. The European Games will be held every four years and the next international competition will take place in 2019.
A total of over 6,000 athletes from 50 European NOCs are competing at 18 competition venues located in four separate clusters of Baku. Five of the venues were built specially for the European Games and they are the National Gymnastics Arena, BMX Velopark, Baku Aquatics Centre, Baku Shooting Centre and Olympic Stadium.