Ilham Aliyev received the sportsmen and coaches who represented Azerbaijan at the 14th Paralympics in London

14 september 2012, 22:00

President Ilham Aliyev has received the sportsmen and coaches who represented Azerbaijan at the 14th Paralympics in London.

Saluting the sportsmen, President Ilham Aliyev said:

- Dear friends, dear athletes!

I sincerely salute and congratulate you on a great victory won in London. Our Paralympians have raised the flag of Azerbaijan high. This is a great victory, a great achievement. Our team was represented by 21 sportsmen. Our athletes have won medals, a total of 12 medals. There are those who have won several medals. And I think this is an excellent result, a great victory. Our team finished in 27th place. We have won four gold, five silver and three bronze medals. This is a great and historic victory. Our Paralympians have participated in Paralympics several times but the biggest victory was won at the London games.

I congratulate you on this great victory again. You have delighted all our people, demonstrated professionalism and devotion to the motherland because it is love and devotion to the motherland and its people that is the source of victory in sports.

Azerbaijan is a sports nation. I have expressed my thoughts about that several times. Life and your success confirm this again. Our athletes did well both at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. To rise to a high level on a global scale is a huge result. Every victory, every success enhances the glory of our country. This, of course, is your victory, the success of athletes, their coaches and sports professionals. But at the same time, it is a success of our state and nation. We will never forget the happy days and moments that were given to us in London by the Olympians and then you. Every citizen took your victory as his own.

We have achieved a truly great success in sports. We are creating sports infrastructure. In 2008, we built and put into operation a new sports complex for Paralympians. I remember meeting with you before you left for Beijing. There were also good results in Beijing. But in London the results are at the highest level.

We have already secured a worthy place among leading sports nations. Of course, this victory inspires us and suggests that even greater victories lie ahead. Because, and this is very significant, the number of victories both at Olympic and Paralympic Games increases each time, and our team finishes higher and higher in team standings.

This suggests that there is dynamics. Therefore, our citizens are somewhat used to this situation. Each time they expect our athletes to win more, and they are right. But at the same time it is very difficult to win, it requires tremendous physical and moral strength and professionalism.

Our victories reverberate around the world. It also shows that our victories are not accidental.

Both at Olympics and Paralympic Games afterwards, our teams are in the highest places. Four gold, five silver, three bronze medals, and 27th place are a great honor.

I sincerely congratulate all of you on this occasion. You deserve this victory. I remember meeting with you and our Olympians before the Olympics. Seeing you off, we looked to the future with high hopes. Personally, I was sure that you would delight us, the people of Azerbaijan. And you did. This victory is worthy of you, this victory is worthy of Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan is also worthy of this victory.

Azerbaijan is a strong and dynamic state. We have successes in all fields, Azerbaijan is making steady progress in all areas. Azerbaijan's political successes, the successes in the international arena and in the economic sphere are already a reality, the general public knows and approves them. Sometimes our experience is studied by others, Azerbaijan’s development is quite exemplary.

Sport shows the strength of any country. Attention and care about sports must be public policy of any country. It is in Azerbaijan. It is our public policy that underlies our success. We have a great young generation growing up. Just have a look, after the Olympics, our young wrestlers finished in first place at the World Cup. Azerbaijani youth finished in 11th place at the first Youth Olympic Games. So a new generation is growing up, there is dynamics, a thoughtful approach, a program, a concept and public policies. It is our public policy, the professionalism of our athletes, the activity of specialists, the joint activities of federations, the Olympic and Paralympic Committees that have made this success possible. But the last word belongs to the athletes. You have the final say and you have said your word by delighting us with great victory. Once again, I congratulate you and wish you every success and good health.

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Then a ceremony of awarding the most successful Paralympians and their coaches was held.

The awards were presented by President Ilham Aliyev.

Two-time Paralympic champion Ilham Zakiyev: Thank you, Mr. President, may Allah help you. This will inspire us to new victories. Thanks to your attention following the “Gizil Chinar” award, I further increased training. Any medal at Paralympic Games is a victory for me. In 1,450 days from now, in Rio de Janeiro, we will strive to delight you with even better results.

Winner of Paralympic Games in London Ramin Ibrahimov: Thank you very much, Mr. President. Your attention and care will inspire us even more. When I won bronze in Beijing, I set the goal of bringing gold to our country from London. And I got it. My biggest dream was for Mr. President to raise my hand. Thank you very much.

President Ilham Aliyev raised Ramin Ibrahimov’s hand.

Coach Aganagi Jafarov: Mr. President, the greatest victory is yours. You have returned Ramil Safarov to our country. It was impossible to believe in that. You are the greatest Olympic champion.

Head coach of the Azerbaijan Paralympic team Maharram Sultanzadeh: Mr. President, our team did well at the 14th Paralympic Games in London and returned home with a big win. The biggest dream of any athlete is to rise to the top of the victory podium, when the Azerbaijani flag is raised and our national anthem is played in his honor. Your words that “Azerbaijan is a strong state and a strong state must have strong athletes” were confirmed in London. Our athletes won four gold, five silver and three bronze medals. This is a great achievement. It is your achievement and the achievement of all the people of Azerbaijan. On behalf of all our Paralympians I express my deep gratitude to you.

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President Ilham Aliyev: Dear friends, I congratulate you again. I am very glad that Azerbaijani sport has gained recognition worldwide. Azerbaijani sport has been glorified by you – our Olympians and Paralympians, our sporting youth and teenagers. We all want to ensure that Azerbaijani sport grows even more rapidly. We all strive to make our country stronger, to have even more influence. Sport has already secured a place in world politics. Olympic and Paralympic Games are a competition where countries compete with each other. And Azerbaijan has won one of the high places in this competition. And this has happened thanks to you.

I congratulate you again. I wish you good health and every success.

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Then a picture was taken.