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BAKU, June 28. /TASS/. The closing ceremony of the first-ever European Games has begun at the Olympic Stadium in the Azerbaijani capital city of Baku on Sunday.
The ceremony is to demonstrate close relations between traditions and modern trends in the present-day culture of Azerbaijan, to show the influences the past is having on the present. The ceremony involving about 1,600 volunteers from Azerbaijan and other countries was directed by James Hadley, Cirque du Soleil's senior artistic director.
The First European Games were 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 - were 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 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 competed 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.