Baku 2015 Games are approaching fast and the excitement grows by day. To cheer and raise the spirits of BP’s six Azerbaijani athlete ambassadors, on 7 May, BP Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey (AGT) employees hosted them at the Xazar Centre office in Baku. The guests were warmly welcomed by Gordon Birrell, AGT regional president who after greeting introduced his team including Leyla Novruzova, human resources vice president, Tamam Bayatli, communications manager and others. “We feel honored to have selected you as our Ambassadors and would like to thank you for having kindly agreed to represent BP in the upcoming extremely important and prestigious Games.” said Gordon. Among the guests were the representatives of the Olympic and Paralympic Committees, Shaig Hamidov, VP of the Azerbajan National Paralympic Committee (ANPC), Hasanaga Rzayev, first VP and head of execituve office of the Azerbajan National Olympic Committee (ANOC), Mehmam Karimov, lead consultant at ANOC, and Konul Nurullayeva, head of International relations at ANOC.
Representing their country at the high level Games and within the boundaries of their own country is a double responsibility for the athletes. They believe that the saying “Even the walls help when you play at home” will be true in this case and they will gain lots of medals during the Games. “I am sure there will be many occasions during the Games when we will sing Azerbaijan’s national anthem all together and with huge excitement in the new magnificent stadiums of the country,” said Tamam Bayatli, BP AGT communications manager. “Today’s event demonstrates once again that we are together with Azerbaijan and with the athletes as they prepare for the Games and beyond,” she said. Olokhan Musayev, was also very excited to participate in the special lunch. When talking about BP values, he acknowledged BP’s role in promoting safety not only among its employees but also among the athletes. “Safety is very important for any sportsman” said he. BP’s values were also highlighted by Mehman Karimov, Lead Consultant at the Azerbaijan National Olympic Committee. For him, BP, Olympic and Paralympic movements have some common values like excellence, respect and courage. “BP’s ongoing and tremendous support to the athletes and contribution to the sport legacy in Azerbaijan is a good sign of how BP promotes its Excellence value” he said. During the celebration lunch BP employees asked the athletes a range of questions about the healthy eating and life style, daily schedule and trainings/practice.
After the official greeting the guests were invited to Xazar Centre canteen, where special celebratory lunch was organized in honor of the athletes. At the entrance of the canteen BP employees met the athletes and other guests with applauds and warm cheers. For them it was an extraordinary and once in a lifetime chance to meet with the athletes, converse and ask questions, take photos and express their best wishes and wish luck during the Games. Some of the employees were very interested how the sportsmen control their behavior in challenging situations. Haji Aliyev, freestyle wrestler and Iham Zakiyev, Paralympic judoka satisfied their curiosity saying that for the sportsmen it is very important to control their feelings since they are responsible for their actions and behavior. “A sportsman should first win his anger in order to win his rival.” said Ilham.
One of the athletes, Elkhan Mammadov, the only Judo World Champion from Azerbaijan, admitted that he tried to isolate himself from the outer world each time when it came closer to the competitions. It helped him to be fully concentrated on his practice and achieve the best results. He thanked BP for such kind of events saying that this brings him joy and pride. Oleg was also of the same opinion with Elkhan. “It is a good example for other companies to follow and to support sports in Azerbaijan and all around the world” said he. “Our support to local elite athletes is the core of BP brand campaign, which will add more value and build excitement, help to grow national pride and project our messages to key stakeholders in Azerbaijan,” said Zaur Jabrail, BP AGT events/sponsorship manager and program director for Baku 2015. At the end of the lunch Gordon and the athletes cut a special cake and had a group photo. The athletes were very excited to get the posters with their own photos and very warm messages of BP staff on them. When seeing off the athletes, Gordon expressed his desire to host them again after the Games with lots of medals and awards.