Baku 2015: European Games Preview

Baku 2015: European Games Preview

11 June 2015 / 15:34

The Games can begin. Today marks the start of the first ever European Games as Baku 2015 gets underway with the Opening Ceremony later on this afternoon.

Today also sees the start of the action, with Team GB's water polo and synchronised swimming squads making their respective debuts in the Baku Aquatics Centre. 

But want to know more about the Games? Well we've got it all covered.

What are the European Games?

Baku 2015 is the inaugural European Games. It represents the continent’s first ever major multi-sport Games and follows in the footsteps of similar events such as the Asian Games and the Pan Am Games.

Around 6,000 athletes from 50 European nations will be in action across the 17 days of competition and all bidding to win one of the 253 gold medals on offer as well as the title of the first ever European Champion.

The Opening Ceremony takes place this afternoon, starting at 5pm BST, with Olympic boxing champion Nicola Adams set to carry the Union Flag into the National Stadium in Baku as Team GB’s Flagbearer.

What sports will be in action?

In total, 20 sports will make up the programme for Baku 2015 with a huge range on offer, including some of the more established Olympic sports in athletics, boxing and gymnastics right through new disciplines such as karate, beach soccer and 3v3 basketball.

Team GB will compete in 13 sports and are set to welcome athletes from the non-Olympic disciplines of aerobic and acrobatic gymnastics for the first time.

Team GB at Baku 2015

160 athletes will be part of Team GB for Baku 2015 – our largest travelling team since the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games – and includes three Olympic champions in Adams, Jade Jones and Ed McKeever, seven Olympic medallists and 32 Olympians.

Also in action will be London 2012 silver medal winning judo player Gemma Gibbons as well as bronze medallist Lutalo Muhammad (taekwondo) and canoe sprint pair Liam Heath and Jon Schofield.

The team is made up of both senior and junior squads, with all four aquatics disciplines competing in their European Junior Championships as part of Baku 2015. Team GB’s judo players will also have added incentive in Azerbaijan as their competition doubles up as the senior European Championships.

Find out more about the sports and athletes representing Team GB here.

How can you watch and follow the Games?

The European Games will be available to watch on TV and online through the 17 days, giving Team GB fans the chance to watch all the action live at home, work or on the go.

Team and our social media channels will be featuring all things GB out in Baku; from live reporting and news articles to video highlights and photo galleries – we’ve got the Games covered.

BT Sport will also show several hours of daily live coverage featuring Team GB athletes across four channels; BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, ESPN as well as on the red button through BT Sport Extra. In addition, a half hour highlights show will be aired each evening.

Fans can also watch the entirety of the Games through the Baku 2015 website and its YouTube channel. The action begins tomorrow with live coverage of the Opening Ceremony.

The official Baku 2015 app is also available to download, featuring a guide to the Games, live results as well as behind-the-scenes information on sports, venues and athletes.

What does Baku 2015 mean for Rio 2016?

Of Team GB’s 19 disciplines, 10 will have added significance in playing a part on the road to Rio and qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games.

These events will offer either direct qualification for certain placed athletes, the chance to achieve qualification standards or pick up ranking points, or qualification opportunities for the World Championships which in turn offer the chance to secure a place at Rio 2016.

The Rio 2016 qualification disciplines for Team GB in Baku are: swimming, archery, beach volleyball, boxing, judo, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon and wrestling.