On the eve of New Year, December 29, an event was held at the five star hotel Grand Hotel Europe in Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, to celebrate AIJA’s 10th anniversary. The sport authority of the country, public sports figures, the Olympic and world champions, representatives from the mass media, AIJA members and a group of artists all took part. They were greeted by a dancing couple from the Sport Dance Association who gave a superb performance.
Then the AIJA President Eldar Ismayilov, the Azerbaijan National Olympic Committee Vice President Chingiz Husseynzada, Xazar Isayev, professor Khanlar Gurbanov, the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the first-rate newspaper “Azerbaijan”, two times world weightlifting champion Nizami Pashayev, “Olimpiya dunyasi” Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Murad Farzeliyev and others stated the advanced role of the Azerbaijan Sport Journalists Association in the development of sport and sport journalism of the country.
Later, the popular music stars Roya, Gunel and Nadir Qafarzada greeted the participants with their performance. The “AIJA PRESS” magazines, printed for AIJA’s 10 year’s anniversary, were passed out to the participants.
This magazine covered the congratulations of the new AIPS President Gianni Merlo, UEPS President Leif Nilsson, the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of “Sport Express” newspaper of Moscow, Lev Rossoshik, AIPS Honorary Member George Gross from Canada, the AIPS Vice president Laima Janusonyte from Lithuania, the Turkish National Olympic Committee President and AIPS Honorary President Togay Bayatli. The Azerbaijan Sport Journalists Association (AIJA) was founded in May of 1995 under the AIPS’s suggestion and the Azerbaijan Sport and Youth Ministry’s initiative. The sport authority of the country, representatives of the sport organizations, well known sportsmen and a group of delegates from the mass media participated at the foundation meeting of this organization, which was held at the conference hall of the Azerbaijan Sport and Youth Ministry.
The colleagues of the famous journalist Eldar Ismayilov elected him as the president of this organization. Thus, a huge burden fell squarely to his shoulders as the first president.
AIJA was officially registered in Azerbaijan Republic Justice Ministry on November 6, 1995. Through its presence the Azerbaijan Sport Journalists Association has passed an honourable way of promoting a professional national unity of the employees of the creative sport media of Azerbaijan.
AIJA’s request to International Sport Press Association (AIPS) for the affiliation with the AIPS was received positively and accepted in 1996. On May 11-18, 1997 the AIJA President Eldar Ismayilov and AIJA General Secretary, the Head of the Azerbaijan Sport and Youth Ministry’s Press Service, Vaqif Qouliyev /Bahmenli/ represented Azerbaijan at the AIPS 60th World Congress in Oviedo in Spain.
President Eldar Ismayilov made a speech at this congress and informed the world sport journalists about AIJA’s objective.
The Congress accepted AIJA unanimously to AIPS’s membership.
At that time in the UEPS Congress, which was held in Oviedo, AIJA was accepted to the membership of the AIPS continental organization - the European Sport Press Union.
Since 1997 AIJA has been officially holding a referendum among the editorial offices of the media, sport experts and sport fans in order to determine the best sport journalists, sport press, sport magazine, the television and radio broadcast, the sportsmen of the year and announces the winners of this referendum in the media and rewards them.
The award ceremonies are regularly held at Grand Hotel Europe with the participation of sport public figures, foreign diplomatic missions, companies, artists, sportsmen and media. These events are mirrored in television channels and press widely.
AIJA participates at the organization of beach volleyball, chess and other competitions among the media employees and rewards the winners.
The Azerbaijan Sport Journalists Association has founded a “Gladiator” Sport Club, “Journalist” Kung Fu Club, “Elzer” Translation Centre and other structural divisions as well as its media organizations, which are attached to AIJA under AIJA’s Charter.
At present over 200 creative media employees - journalists, TV operators, producers, sport commentators, photo reporters, artists, the creative freelance and the same number of associate members - people specialized in the respective branches related with journalism, are gathering together in AIJA.
AIJA seeks to work in deep co-operation with the National Olympic Committee, Azerbaijan Sport, Youth and Tourism Ministry, journalist and sport organizations, as well as such international organizations as AIPS, UEPS, “Laureus” World Sport Awards, FIFA, UEFA.
The delegation board of AIJA regularly participates at the international congresses of AIPS and UEPS under the material and moral support of the National Olympic Committee.
AIJA faces many problems as well.
The main problem is financial difficulty.
We hope, with the concern of the AIPS’ new authority, the President of Azerbaijan and National Olympic Committee Ilham Aliyev’s support this problem will be solved eventually.