Azerbaijan has successfully hosted another high-profile international sporting event as the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games came to a close.
Hailing the organization of the Games, Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz, President of the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation, says: "This evening's Closing Ceremony marks the end of a wonderful festival of sport and friendship here in Azerbaijan's capital. Baku has provided the perfect setting for the athletes of our nations to shine, and for people from four continents to celebrate our shared bonds in a spirit of unity and understanding." "These memorable Islamic Solidarity Games were made possible by our gracious hosts, under the leadership of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, and through the commitment of First Vice President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Chair of the Baku 2017 Organising Committee, Mehriban Aliyeva and all her team at AISGOC. On behalf of the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation, I would like to thank the people of Baku and Azerbaijan for their dedication and countless acts of generosity throughout. We look forward to meeting again at the 2021 Games in Istanbul."
Azad Rahimov, Minister of Youth and Sport of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Chief Executive Officer of Azerbaijan Islamic Solidarity Games Operations Committee, says the Closing Ceremony of the Baku 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games marks the end of a thrilling 10 days of sport, celebration and friendship. "Building on the legacy of the Baku 2015 European Games, we have welcomed old friends and new from across the Islamic world to our state-of-the-art sporting facilities, and our young people have applied their ever-growing skills to deliver yet another world-class event. The work of the Baku 2017 Operations Committee may be coming to an end, but our capital city's journey as a world centre for international sport and culture goes on." "Sport will continue to play a central role in our national development in the years to come. We look forward to welcoming the world again to Baku for the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix this summer, the 2017 Women's European Volleyball Championships, and for three group stage football matches and a quarter-final of the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship."
In July 2013, Baku was announced as the host city for the fourth Islamic Solidarity Games – an exciting multi-sport event uniting the Islamic world. Athletes from more than 50 Islamic countries came together from 12 to 22 May 2017 to represent their nations over 10 days of competition across 20 different sports. They included 24 disciplines (Athletics and Para Athletics, Aquatics: Diving, Aquatics: Swimming, Aquatics: Water Polo, Basketball 3x3, Boxing, Football, Gymnastics: Artistic, Gymnastics: Rhythmic, Handball, Judo and Blind Judo, Karate, Shooting, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Volleyball, Weightlifting, Wrestling: Greco-Roman, Wrestling: Freestyle, Wushu and Zurkhaneh) in 16 state-of-the-art competition venues across Baku.
A total of 2,800 athletes from four continents contested 1,585 medals in 269 medal events. Azerbaijan topped the medal table of the Games with 161 medals, including 75 golds, 50 silvers and 36 bronzes. The largest number of medals came from judo fighters, who claimed 11 golds, 12 silvers and three bronzes. Turkey finished second with 194 medals and Iran ranked third with 97 medals. Uzbekistan and Bahrain finished fourth and fifth with 63 and 21 medals respectively.
President Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva personally watched several competitions at venues and presented medals to winning athletes, which increased interest in the Games.