With a week to go before the start of the IBSA Judo Grand Prix, organisers say Azerbaijan is ready to roll out the red carpet to athletes from 36 countries.
Over 240 athletes are set to compete in the tournament, the first time it has been held in Azerbaijan.
Detailed organisation for the competition, open to Paralympic athletes with sight impairments, started in December. According to Kamal Mammadov, general secretary of the Paralympic Committee Azerbaijan, the process has been a triumph of teamwork.
He said: “Of course there have been a few challenges along the way, but the process has been so enjoyable and interesting for our team, we didn’t see them as challenges.”
“Undoubtedly, the experience of organising major events like the European Games and Islamic Solidarity Games have helped us. Azerbaijan has become very experienced in organising world-class competitions,” Mammadov added.
Although the competition runs over two days from May 9-10, competitors arrive around three days before with a busy schedule to complete. This includes sight tests at the National Ophthalmology Centre and official weigh-ins.
Organisers made a special effort to recruit volunteers with disabilities to support the competition. A craft fair, featuring handiwork made by people with disabilities, will be part of the event.
The competition takes place at Baku’s Heydar Aliyev Sports and Concert Complex. Entrance throughout the tournament is free.