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Both the exterior and the interior design aims to reflect the “youthful and energetic” spirit of Azerbaijan


buildings than stadia, were used, all of which further speed up the build. Support In Sport (SIS) was contracted to design and build the two stadium pitches. The warm up pitch was completed in summer 2014 and seeded with Bermuda grass. The main stadium pitch has now also been seeded. It will be covered up for the opening ceremony of the European Games, after which new turf from Austria will be laid. There have been a number of challenges


involved in the project. “The field used to be an oil refinery in the past, so we


have installed extra isolation layers on the ground before laying the pitch,” says SIS contracts manager, Burak Ertas. “The warm up pitch is outdoors, so we sometimes had to deal with winds of up to 60km per hour. The quick turnaround of laying the turf after the opening ceremony will pose another challenge.” Having unsuccessfully pitched for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, could the Baku Olympic Stadium, combined with a glitch-free inaugural European Games in the summer, be what Azerbaijan needs


to secure the holy grail of international sporting events? “Our main challenge is to make the


most of this opportunity,” says Edwards. “With Azerbaijan set to host a F1 Grand Prix, the Islamic Solidarity Games and matches in the UEFA 2020 European Championships, a key part of the legacy of these Games is to ensure we provide young Azerbaijanis with the chance to develop the skills and experience that will help them deliver major international events in the years to come.” 


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