The 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games were officially opened by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev during a spectacular ceremony in the Baku Olympic Stadium on Friday night. The show unsurprisingly followed a theme of togetherness in the Islamic world, as the 40-day long 'journey from the Caspian' came to its conclusion.
The Azerbaijan capital Baku is set to stage a hugely successful Islamic Solidarity Games and enhance its position as a world-class sports venue, a top local sports official says.
The fourth edition of the games, bringing together the 57 members of the Islamic Solidarity Sport Federation (ISSF), will get underway on the western shore of the Caspian Sea on May 12 and already there are full participation for now with 57 countries taking part in international sport event.
The Solidarity Games is just the latest in a long line of sporting events that Baku will have hosted, after the government identified international sport as being a key sector to enhance the country's international image and develop its local infrastructures in the footsteps of such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar.
European championships in rhythmic gymnastics and wrestling were held in 2007 and 2010 and Baku hosted the 2011 World Amateur Boxing Championships as well as the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012.
More recently in 2015, the Azerbaijan capital staged the inaugural European Games and that has proved to be the template for the Solidarity Games.