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2016 Baku Olympiad – Opening Ceremony

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The opening ceremony of the 2016 Baku Olympiad took place yesterday evening at the beautiful National Gymnastics Arena in central Baku.

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The golden girls from Russia. From left WGM Pogonina Natalija, WGM Alexandra Goryachkina, GM Kosteniuk Aleksandra, WGM Gunina Valentina and WGM Girya Olga.

The well attended event was graced by H.E President IIham Aliyev his wife Mehriban Aliyeva, President of FIDE Mr Kirsan Ilyumzhinov other dignitaries and thousands on chess players.

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The team with the fastest man on Earth! Malaku Lorne extreme right.
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Team Jamaica!
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Happy Jamaicans. Ian Wilkinson (Chef de mission and Delegate) third from left.

The packed hall saw various dancers take to the stage which was set up as a chess board!  The people of Azerbaijan went out of their way to put a spectacular show to prove once again that Baku is a fantastic place to host a sporting event.

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The GM that Kenya loves – GM Maurice Ashley and WGM Judith Polgar.

In the recent past Baku has been host to F1 Racing and the 2015 European Games.

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Team Ivory Coast.

The 42nd Olympiad in Baku has a record-breaking participation of teams representing 176 countries – a total of 181 men`s and 142 women’s teams will compete in this sporting event.

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Our Tanzanian brothers and sisters.

The depressing news is that Team Kenya and Team Uganda are still at home and will now miss the first and most likely the second round.  It makes you wonder when you see war strife countries like Somalia, Iraq, Yemen, Syria and even the new kid on the block South Sudan who have managed to get to Baku!

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Team Somalia.

We in Kenya are simply paying the price of politics and bloated egos as there was a FIDE subsidy of Euro 7,320 for Kenya.  The tickets to Baku from Nairobi was Euro 650 provided that you booked at least 4 weeks prior to travel.  This means that subsidy would have paid for almost all 12 players leaving a small shortfall of Euro 480.  So close yet so far.

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Gulmira Dauletova Board 2 for Kazakhstan and who is also the Deputy Director of Kazakhstan Chess Federation with yours truly.
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Team Pakistan.

For some high quality photos of this event check out 2016 Baku Olympiad Opening Ceremony 2016 Baku Olympiad Opening Ceremony. The ballet photos are stunning.