The fourth edition of the multi-sport Islamic Solidarity Games kicked off in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku on Friday, with a glittering Opening Ceremony at the city’s Olympic Stadium. Two years after Baku hosted the 2015 European Games, the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games see boxing feature for the first time in the event’s 12-year history, and AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu was among those in attendance at the inauguration.
“As the collective spirit of the Muslim world is again highlighted by the Islamic Solidarity Games, sport’s ability to unite people around the world is once more shown to be a hugely powerful tool. As boxing’s popularity continues to grow all over the world, AIBA is delighted to see it receive the recognition of becoming a key part of such an important international event, and I look forward to seeing so many of our top athletes competing here in Baku,” said AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu.
The Games will see 54 countries compete across 23 disciplines over the ten days, and Sunday will see the AIBA President awarding the medals to the Women’s Kumite -68kg and Men’s Kumite -84kg Karate winners. The boxing competition runs from 12-18 May in the city’s famous Crystal Hall venue and features a host of Olympians among those competing for gold, including Moroccan Super Heavyweight (+91kg) Mohammed Arjaoui, Azeri Light Flyweight (49kg) Rufat Huseynov and Turkish Welterweight (69kg) Onder Sipal.
(Photo © AFP Services/Baku 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games)