San Marino Chef de Mission Federico Valentini ©CONS

Federico Valentini
Chef de Mission, San Marino

1)    Why has it taken so long for Europe to stage its first continental Games?
One reason may be because the European countries want to compete in many top-level events, but the events calendar is very busy.

2)    What makes Baku the perfect host city to stage the inaugural European Games?
The willpower of the country and its capital will give glory to the first event of this type.

3)    How big do you think your team for Baku 2015 will be and how many sports will you be represented in?
Our delegation will consist of 15 athletes with their coaches and assistants, for a total of 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?
The main reason for success is to compete for qualification in Rio in 2016; the key to the future is to ensure the athletes this goal.

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? 
The collaboration with the European Federations is vital and only an optimal management of the calendars will foster this new continental  event.

Federico Valentini believes providing athletes the opportunity to qualify for the Olympics is key to the future success of the European Games
Federico Valentini believes providing athletes the opportunity to qualify for the Olympics is key to the future success of the European Games ©Getty Images

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?
My visit at the open day really surprised me and my expectations; the BEGOC (Baku 2015 European Games Organising Committee) is well structured to prepare in the best way all sectors.

7)    Are there any sports not represented that you would like to see in the European Games? 
Personally I love team sports, so I hope that they can always be present.

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? 
Sport has always been a source of unity between people and countries. For a host country this feeling is amplified greatly. Sport is a tool of communication and freedom.

9)    How interested do you think the public in your country will be in the Games?
My country will see the Games in Baku through media reports, and the curiosity and interest will be great.

10)    What are you looking forward to most at Baku 2015?
Baku 2015 should be a competition of great interest to be able to guarantee success for the next organisers and sponsors. I expect to be lucky to see an athlete of San Marino with a medal around his neck.

Interview by Daniel Etchells