The bid by Baku to host the 2020 Olympic Games is a far better one than their previous effort for the 2016 edition as they have learnt from their mistakes, the Azerbaijan sports minister told AFP on Tuesday.
Asad Rahimov, who was speaking to AFP by phone from Quebec City where the International Olympic Committee will decide who of the five candidates makes the shortlist for the final vote in Buenos Aires in September 2013, added that the question over human rights abuses in the the oil-rich state had not come up.
Baku, who failed to make the short list in the 2016 race, is up against early favourites Tokyo, who are the only one of the candidates to have previously hosted the Games, Madrid, who came second to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Games, Doha, who also failed to make the short list last time, and Istanbul, who have a battle on their hands as Turkey has also bid for the Euro 2020 football championship.
However, 47-year-old Rahimov - a former handball international - said he was happy with the manner in which the Baku bid had been put together this time round.
"It is excellent the bid. It has been really carefully prepared to avoid the mistakes made in the previous bid for 2016. This is a higher quality bid," he said.
"The country has changed a lot in the past four years. It is a new country with a new approach.
"For IOC members now Baku is not in the middle of nowhere. Through a means of advertising our culture and hosting important sports events (among them the 2011 world amateur boxing championships) are opening the eyes of the IOC members and indeed opening the eyes of everyone round the world to our country."
Rahimov, who spent the 1990s on the Youth Organisation Committee before going into business, said that he felt the country's strongman president, Ilham Aliyev, summed up the state of human rights in Azerbaijan perfectly.
"Not one IOC member has brought that issue up with me," he said.
"As for human rights, as our president said, we're a young democracy and we are not old enough yet to be a truly democratic state.
"All I can say is that there are over 200 NGOs (Non Governmental Organisations) in the country and daily there are thousands of people from the opposition who write not very nice things about me and other members of the government and they are allowed to."
Rahimov, who comes from a medical background with his father and mother both doctors, said that the rapidity with which sports was developing in the country was a point in their favour.
"There has been a billion dollars invested in the last 12 years in sports, infrastructure and other areas," he said.
"In Beijing we were represented in 11 sports and four years later in London we will be represented in 16 sports which means that five new federations have been created in a short time."
Rahimov, whose son is studying a Masters Degree in business, economics and energy at the University of London, added that the speed with which the building hosting this weekend's Eurovision Song Contest was built was a positive sign and a good signal to send out to the IOC.
"We are very proud to be hosting the competition," said Rahimov, who will fly back to attend the three-and-a-half-hour extravaganza which historically has served as a priceless tourist advertisement for the hosts.
"It shows how much the country has changed. I am so proud of the fact that the 25,000 seater hall where it is being held was built in just seven months."