Games News Service

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Quotes of the Games

Games News Service reporters talked to scores of athletes and coaches during the 17 days of the Baku 2015 European Games. Here is a selection of the best quotes from across the 20 sports

"I wanted to be strong enough to tell bullies 'no' the first time and hit them the second time."
Diminutive French karate star Alexandra RECCHIA on what inspired her to take up kumite in her childhood. Bully for you. (11 June)

"We train in little clothes so it's common for us to go topless and show some body. We are proud of our bodies. If you have a Ferrari you won’t let it stand in the garage."
Norwegian wrestler Felix BALDAUF revealed the bare necessities of his kit. (12 June)

"I'm a Muslim and loads of Muslims have that name. I just happen to be a boxer, too." 
British flyweight Muhammad ALI on bearing the same name as the legendary heavyweight boxer. (13 June)

"In the middle of the fight I started to think that I was going to win, so I was celebrating and it's not a good thing to do in sport. For the future, that's not a good thing to do."
After losing to Russian Davit CHAKVETADZE, Greco-Roman 85kg competitor Nenad ZUGAJ from Croatia will never have to wrestle with that thought again. (14 June)

"I didn't know where the finish line was. It was a bit farther than I expected."
Canoeist Sergiu CRACIUN (ITA) on confusion at the Kur Sport and Rowing Centre in Mingachevir, but he was still able to go the distance and finish third. (14 June)

"I was at the opening ceremony, standing in the centre of it and thousands of people were looking at me. It's amazing. You should try it."
Thirteen-year-old water polo player Emma JUNASOVA (SVK), the youngest competitor at Baku 2015, reveals a youthful innocence in encouraging a Games News Service reporter to be part of the next opening ceremony they see. (15 June)

"Our president looked at me and told me to improve this sport and I've been very nervous for the last few days and trying to live up to that expectation."
Azerbaijan water polo coach Azer BABAYEV gives President Ilham ALIYEV his wish with a historic 8-7 victory over Malta. (16 June)

"Yes, but you can come at 14:00."
Bojan TOKIC (SLO) replied to table tennis opponent Paul DRINKHALL (GBR) who asked, 'See you tomorrow. It's at 12:00, right?'. The match was at 13:00. (17 June)

"Since we are so close, we have no trouble telling each other to piss off."
Paolo INGROSSO gives the watered-down version of how he and twin brother Matteo cope with tension between them during difficult moments on the beach volleyball court. (18 June)

"I broke my spine, pelvis, shoulder and ribs. I was disabled. I couldn't walk or even hold a glass of water in my hand. Even doctors said it was hopeless. They said, 'You will be disabled'."
Six years after a car crash that wrecked her body, and with the help of her loving and dedicated mother, Adila MAMMADLI will run for Azerbaijan in the 4x400m relay on Monday. (18 June)

"Where's my text from (Wayne) ROONEY? People say I look like him."
Table tennis player Paul DRINKHALL (GBR) wonders why the England football star hasn't been in touch after he beat Marcos FREITAS (POR), who has received congratulatory texts in the past from Cristiano RONALDO. (18 June)

"In Cuba, all the kids growing up try to do the Ali shuffle. But you have to follow it up by hitting like an elephant."
Collazo SOTOMAYOR (AZE) gives advice to up-and-coming boxers after beating Edin SEJDINOVIC (SLO) in their light-welterweight contest, but even he would balk at the idea of boxing an elephant's ears. (18 June)

"It doesn't matter who the next opponent is - my father, my mother, my grandmother - I want to beat everyone."
Serbian 3x3 basketballer Dusan DOMOVIC-BULUT could say that the family that plays together stays together. (19 June)

"I'm so angry. I'm furious. It is not possible to play like this the one time you have a chance to do well. I am a river of lava."
Volleyball coach Fabio SOLI (ITA) erupts after his side's 3-0 defeat by Poland. (19 June)

"I need to train to be calm like an elephant."
With this motto ringing in his ears, Pavel DALIDOVICH (BLR) packed up his trunk and headed home after being eliminated from the archery competition. (20 June)

"Some of the lads take it easy the first time they spar with me but the coaches always say, 'you'd better hit her hard because she's going to hit you back'."
Great Britain's Sandy RYAN, who beat Germany's Cindy ROGGE in their light welterweight (60-64kg) bout. With her ability, she could put a few noses out of joint among the lads. (20 June)

"I had some really bad pain in my belly and I had to s*** in my pants on the cobbles. It was really, really bad."
The bottom falls out of Swiss rider Simon PELLAUD's challenge after he suffers a stomach upset during the  cycling road race. (21 June)

"I f***ing hate the wind here."
Dutch archer Rick VAN DER VEN expresses a modicum of dissatisfaction with Mother Nature in Baku. (22 June)

"When you are fighting in the heavyweight category, and your rival’s weight is 100-130kg, it is very difficult, even impossible to get out from a holding technique...Really, it is hard to struggle against this gravity."
Azerbaijani silver medallist Vasif SAFARBAYOV admits Newtonian laws of physics still apply, with considerable gravity indeed, in heavyweight sambo. (22June)

"I had no rivals - my only enemy was time."
Maria ASTASHKINA (RUS) wins gold in the women's 50m breaststroke and hopes her swimming career will continue to go like clockwork. (23 June)

"I was so angry in the third and fourth set that I was thinking I would cut my hands with a plastic knife if we did not win."
Poland's Katarzyna SKOWRONSKA-DOLATA gets a grip of herself in time to slice through Germany instead to win their volleyball quarterfinal 3-2 after giving away a 2-0 lead. (23 June)

"It's really hot. After three minutes of play, I thought my heart was going to explode."
At least Russia's Andrey KANYGIN showed a wholehearted attitude to help his side beat Spain 19-16 in the men's 3x3 baskeball match in Group B. (24 June)

"Every time I win a medal now I will think of my friend."
Gwladys EPANGUE (FRA) dedicated her +67kg taekwondo gold medal to French boxer Alexis VASTINE, one of three French sports personalities killed in a helicopter crash in Argentina last March. (25 June)

"When Tine RASMUSSEN was still playing they called me the princess. I think they should call me the queen now."
Danish badminton star Line KJAERSFELDT wants a royal proclamation in the Danish press now that RASMUSSEN (DEN), 2010 and 2012 European champion in women's singles from Denmark, has retired. (26 June)

"I told him that we don't have any money, but I promised him a free vacation, free food, free alcohol and women. He told me he has no reason not to come and build a track."
Greek BMX rider Ioannis KORFIATIS reveals his plan to persuade Baku's track builder Dustin MAGUIRE (USA) to build a track in the birthplace of the Olympic Games.    

"I'm the youngest in the team, only 21, so I'll do whatever the others tell me."
Ukrainian bronze medallist in team judo Iakiv KHAMMO doesn't know how or where he'll celebrate, but he does know there will be a celebration. And he's going to be there. (28 June)

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