Sport is a part of the fibre of Azerbaijan and is central to the country's ambitions both domestically and on the international stage.

Ilham Aliyev, the President of both Azerbaijan and the country's National Olympic Committee, has said that "sport is a part of life".

"Sport is an essential part of the public life of every country," he said.

"We are on the right track because the glory of our country and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle should be important for every country."

Globally, Azerbaijan has built up a fantastic reputation as a host of international events, including the European Games, Islamic Solidarity Games and World Championships.

In more recent times it has hosted UEFA European Championship football and Formula One.

Baku, now one of the flagship European sporting cities, is a trusted partner of many sports which know that hosting events there will lead to a competition organised to the highest standards.

A number of world-class venues have been built in the capital which rival any in the rest of the world.

At home, the interest in sport has led to increasing success for Azerbaijan's athletes on the field of play.

Azerbaijan is an established sporting host and its athletes are improving ©Getty Images
Azerbaijan is an established sporting host and its athletes are improving ©Getty Images

The country has won seven Olympic golds and 49 medals in all across seven sports, and won 99 medals at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Konya in 2022.

At the Paralympics, Azerbaijan won 14 gold medals at Tokyo 2020 to finish 10th.

Producing the next generation of stars is now seen as key with the hosting of events a great way to inspire young people.

"The good news is that there are all the opportunities to do sports today," Aliyev said. 

"About 50 Olympic Sports Centres have been opened in the provinces, and this process is ongoing.

"At the same time, we have hosted the most prestigious sporting competitions in Baku, and many more events are yet to follow. 

"World and European Championships will be held in our country, qualification tournaments for the Olympic Games have been held here before, and this is not ruled out in the future either. 

"We are in the final stage of preparations for the Summer Olympic Games [Paris 2024].

"In 2023 it will be a decisive year in terms of many parameters. 

"Therefore, our entire sports community, the Ministry, the National Olympic Committee, federations, clubs and sports associations should consider this the top priority so that Azerbaijan confirms its strength in the Summer Olympic Games.

"As for the popularity of sports, promotion work in the regions should become more extensive. 

"We have recently created conditions for practicing outdoor sports in several parks in Baku, and we have installed exercise machines. 

"Let us take this experience to all our regions and apply it there. 

"The Ministry and local executive authorities should seriously deal with this issue. 

"After all, not everyone may have the time and financial opportunities to go to the gym. 

"Therefore, considering that the weather conditions in most of Azerbaijan are favourable throughout the year, this will significantly impact the open air for people's health and the development of sports as a whole. 

"Therefore, there is a great need for that."

Azerbaijan is now looking to inspire the next generation of talented athletes  ©Getty Images
Azerbaijan is now looking to inspire the next generation of talented athletes ©Getty Images

Many different sports in Azerbaijan's Olympic complexes are accessible free of charge.

The country is attempting to expand into different disciplines, with an ice rink among the facilities planned for Baku.

"I want to say again that Azerbaijan has asserted itself in the world as a strong sports nation, and the position of our country in the world arena as a whole is getting stronger every year," said Aliyev. 

"We are consistently conducting our policy. 

"Azerbaijan has stability, peace and security, and large-scale construction work is being carried out."