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Sport

Azerbaijan is a country with ancient history of sports traditions. In the centuries before our Common Era, in Azerbaijan there were common such kind of sports as wrestling, archery, fencing, horse racing.

In Middle Ages, in Azerbaijan including Baku “Zorkhana” was very popular. Zorkhana was a number of athletic places where wrestlers received special training, and where wrestling competitions were arranged between the most popular wrestlers (pahlavans).

In the late XIX – early XX centuries, Baku undergoing rapid development as an oil industry city, turned into one of the most advanced industrial centers in the world. This caused development and spread of other kinds of sports in Baku. As a result, swimming, athletics, weightlifting, gymnastics, football and many other sports became popular in Baku in those years.

Huseyngulu from Mashtagha and his ward Meshadi Abdulali, Mirza Hashimoghlu from Zabrat, Atababa from Saray and many others were very prominent wrestlers at that time. In 1912, Baku Gymnasium teacher Leonid Romanchenko having swam 45 km. across the Caspian Sea for 24 hours and 10 minutes beat the record of the previous English swimmer Burgess who had swum La Manche.

In 1924, Azerbaijani wrestler R. Yusifov was invited to Baku Circus. Even the famous Russian wrestler Ivan Poddubny was amazed by his extraordinary strength. The first sport newspaper “The Red Sportsman” began to be published in 1923. In the same year, for the first time in Baku a school for training teachers of physical education was opened. In 1924 Rza Bakhshaliyev founded a wrestling club named "Kustrud". In 1930, first Transcaucasus Physical Culture Institute (from 1936 the Azerbaijan State Academy of Physical Training and Sport) was established in Baku. This institute prepared physical culture teachers in the South Caucasus. In addition, in 1933 a Technical College of Physical Culture was opened at the Institute of Physical Culture.

The Football Union was established in Azerbaijan in 1914. The Union assumed the organization and holding of the city official championships and other competitions. In the short term, a large number of different football teams appeared in Baku, such as "Balakhani Footballers Union", "Stella", "Friends of Sport", "Sportsman", "Congress", "Unitis", "Belaya", "Centurion", "Tereggi", "Dinamo" (1926), "Neftchi", "Spartak", "Burevestnik", "Lokomotiv" (1936), "Mehsul" (1951), "Central Army Sports Club" (1962), "Alpinism" (1987), "Khazar" (1988).

On 18 October 1991, Azerbaijan restored its independence. Thus, it generated a need for the creation of the National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan and various Azerbaijan national federations as important attributes of sovereignty, and thereby this necessity was accomplished in 1992. 

In 1994, the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan was created. A number of new sports associations were established: "Pahlavan" (1992), "Ganjlik" (1992), "Atilla" (1997). "Tahsil" (1997). 

Republican Stadium named after Tofig Bahramov, Baku Sport Palace, ”Neftchi” Sports-Health Center, Republic Velodrome, Yacht Club, Taekwondo Sports Center, Baku Shooting Range, Heydar Aliyev Arena, Azerbaijan Federation for Hockey On the Herbs, Central Army Sports Club, Baku Olympic Stadium, Mashtagha Olympic Sports Complex, Hovsan Olympic Sports Complex, "Sarhadchi" Olympic Sports Complex are all situated in the city of  Baku.

A number of prestigious competitions were held in Baku, including the European Bodybuilding Championship (2001), European Volleyball Leading Teams Cup (2002), European Freestyle Wrestling Championship (2002), European Chess Championship (2002), World Judo Military Championship (2004), European Taekwondo Junior Championship (2005), The World Cup in Rhythmic Gymnastics and 27th Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championship (2005), World Boxing Championship competitions (2006), European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship (2007), Greco-Roman and Freestyle Wrestling World (2007) and European Championships (2010).

In 2012, the holding of the final step of the UEFA European Women’s Under-17 Championship in Baku is considered a great success for our country.

Put into service in 2015, Baku Olympic Stadium was engineered and constructed in compliance with high international standards and is considered the biggest stadium in Azerbaijan. From 12 June till 28 June 2015, the first European Games “Baku 2015” were held in Baku Olympic Stadium.

The 4th Islamic Solidarity Games were held in Baku on May 12-22, 2017.

In 2016-2018, the European Grand Prix Formula 1 races were organized in Baku as well. 

The decision to hold some group matches and one quarter-final match of the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship is an indication of successful sports policy of our country.