Chef de Mission, Liechtenstein
1) Why has it taken so long for Europe to stage its first continental Games?
I really don’t know. I only can assume it's because of the fact that there have been several Games for decades in Europe; the Games of the Small States of Europe every two years, the EYOF (European Youth Olympic Festival) every two years, in summer and winter, and the Mediterranean Games. I also heard there is the Francophone Games. It’s too much.
2) What makes Baku the perfect host city to stage the inaugural European Games?
There is a lot of know-how from people of the London [2012 Olympic] Games and a big enthusiastic spirit in the OC [Organising Committee] team. And enough money - as far as I know - from the Government of Azerbaijan to organise such a big event.
3) How big do you think your team for Baku 2015 will be and how many sports will you be represented in?
Our team will be between five and 10 athletes. That depends still on whether we get universality places, and on how many athletes in athletics will compete with the ASSEE (Athletic Association of Small States of Europe) team [San Marino, Monaco, Gibraltar and Liechtenstein]. With our athletes we represent four to five sports.
4) How important is it for the success and appeal of the European Games that some sports afford athletes the opportunity to qualify for Olympic Games?
That’s really very important.
5) What is the significance of the Games for the European Olympic Movement and how confident are you that they will become sport's flagship event on the continent?
As there are already many Games in Europe, I’m curious how they will develop. I think the experiences of Baku will be important, if there is to be a host city for the second European Games.
6) How impressed have you been by the facilities to be used for the European Games and the work of the Baku 2015 Organising Committee in ensuring their delivery and readiness?
I participated in the Chef de Mission seminar last June and I was very impressed by the work of the OC and their enthusiasm.
7) Are there any sports not represented that you would like to see in the European Games?
For us, it would be very interesting to see tennis on the programme, and also if there wasn't an age limit on swimming.
8) How symbolic is it that the first ever European Games will take place in a country that has experienced a major re-birth of its own since gaining independence in 1991?
By chance, it seems very symbolic.
9) How interested do you think the public in your country will be in the Games?
They will be interested. Above all, of course, the sport fans.
10) What are you looking forward to most at Baku 2015?
We have athletes in one or two sports in which Liechtenstein will be competing for the first time at a Games with Olympic character. I'm very glad about that.
Interview by Daniel Etchells