Olga Kharlan: "Azerbaijan will host high level European Games"

The Olympic sabre fencing champion, Olga Kharlan, made a short visit to Baku at the invitation of the Baku 2015 Organising Committee. Following the meeting hosted by Yashar Mammadov, the vice-president of the Azerbaijan Fencing Federation, the famous Ukrainian athlete met Azerbaijani fencers from the National federation and answered questions. She also shared her impressions of the capital of Azerbaijan and spoke about her expectations for the European Games.

Later the sportswoman answered journalists’ questions. She said that she had been interested in seeing the preparations for the games even before she received the invitation to visit Azerbaijan: "I got to meet the athletes and talk to them. I also wanted to visit Azerbaijan before the Baku 2015 European Games to view the facilities. What I see tells me that Baku is 100% ready for the European Games. I am sure that Azerbaijan will organize the Baku 2015 European Games to a very high standard. These games will be remembered in Europe for a long time. Most of the features are superior to conditions in our country.”

- In your experience of participating in the Olympic Games, what is most important for an athlete at these multi-sport competitions?

“The most important thing, of course, is the Athletes’ Village. An athlete wants to feel at home. I’d emphasise the role of the dining area, because it is important to eat healthy, tasty meals. Leisure activities are also very important. All the previous major competitions I’ve attended were successful in this respect. It is also important that the Athletes’ Village is close to the action.” says Olga Kharlan.

- What challenges do the European Games in Baku present for the Ukrainian fencers?

“The Baku Games are one of our major upcoming events and are a chance to prepare for the World Championships. Just before the European Games, we are going to compete in the European Championships in Montreux, Switzerland and the Games in Baku are a dress rehearsal for the World Championships in July in Moscow. So, I want to perform well just before the World Championships and it’s also good to spend some time here” reveals Kharlan.

Olga said that the Ukrainian team would be accompanied at the European Games by key staff: "The European Games are important to Ukraine. We have already ordered special uniforms for these European Games. I am not yet been informed how many athletes will take part, but they should equal those 250 who participated in the London Olympic Games. 11 athletes will take part in the Baku 2015 European fencing division. This is more than participated in the Olympic Games. After the European Games we will be taking part in the World Championship in Moscow. We hope to achieve good results at the European Games"

Sources: ExtraTime.az and SIA news agency

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