Baku 2015 was the first edition of the European Games. The tournament was held in Azerbaijan from June 12-18, 2015. The number of athletes who participated was about 6,000 representing 50 European countries. 20 sports were available for competition. The organizers of the event comprised of the National Olympic Committees (NOCs), which was part of the European Olympic Committees. Through secret ballot, a venue is chosen among the list of bidders who wish to host the event. Baku received the most votes during the last exercise which was held on December 8, 2012, in Rome.
The European Games was planned to be held after every four years. Therefore, since Baku hosted the last event in 2015, 2019 will be the year when another edition is held. The committee has already assigned Belarus as the host for the following edition. Thus, Minsk will receive the participants from all the participants of this tournament. The European Games were meant to bring together European countries since its inception. However, the Faroe Islands and Gibraltar participated in the 2015 edition despite not having a membership to the European Olympic Committee. During that edition, the Faroe Islands and Gibraltar represented the League of European Nations and the Athletic Association of Small States of Europe respectively.
Top Performing Countries in the Baku 2015 European Games
The 2015 edition of the European Games saw a tight competition among the participants. A total of 20 sports were represented including both Olympic and non-Olympic sports. Sambo and karate were examples of the non-Olympic sports which was accommodated by the Baku edition.
Russia emerged as the top performer in that edition, garnering a total of 164 medals. These medals included 79 gold, 40 silver, and 45 bronze which were scooped by participants in various sports. Russia was then followed by Azerbaijan, which hosted the event after scooping 56 medals, inclusive of gold, silver, and bronze. Great Britain and Germany also did exceptionally well during this edition. Great Britain’s medal standing of 47 in total saw its rank rising to the third spot just below Azerbaijan. The 66 medals scooped by Germany made it the fourth-best performer in that event.
Among other top performers included France, Italy, and Belarus which came in positions five, six, and seven respectively. Also, Ukraine, Netherlands, and Spain came in positions eight, nine, and ten in that order. These countries in the top ten scooped a total of 571 out of 844 medals which were up for grabs.
Controversies of the Baku 2015 European Games
The 2015 edition of the European Games was concluded successfully on June 28th that year. In spite of all the positive events which took place, the tournament was marred by some controversies. One of the notable controversies involved the reports surrounding Azerbaijan’s government which was accused of human rights violations. Human rights activists including Amnesty International have been vocal in highlighting such issues as lack of freedom and improper imprisonment of innocent people. Besides, the bus accident which occurred during the event led to injuries and fatalities, especially on Austrian athletes. Consequently, Austria withdrew from the competition. As a result, the two incidents have had adverse impacts on the competition and the organizers in general.