MINSK, 14 February (BelTA) – Minsk is ready to host the participants and guests of the 2017 European Fencing U23 Championships, Belarus’ Sports and Tourism Minister Alexander Shamko said as he met with President of the European Fencing Confederation (EFC) Stanislav Pozdnyakov at the National Olympic Committee on 14 February, BelTA has learned.
The competitions will take place in the Minsk Palace of Sports on 21-25 April. It is expected that the Belarusian capital will welcome nearly 600 athletes and coaches from more than 40 countries. “Over the past years Minsk has gained wide experience in hosting various high-level sports forums. Participants of every of these tournaments praised the organization level and the hospitality of Belarusians. I believe that the competitions among the Europe’s best fencers will also be a success,” said Alexander Shamko. The minister added that on 12 February the country introduced five-day visa-free rules for foreigners coming to Belarus via Minsk National Airport. This will also contribute to a bigger number of sports fans arriving at the Belarusian capital. They will have a chance to support their athletes and see the sights of Minsk and Belarus, Alexander Shamko stressed.
Stanislav Pozdnyakov noted that the last time he saw Minsk was in 1989 and now he was impressed to see how the Belarusian capital had changed. The prominent fencer, four-time Olympic champion and ten-time world champion said that he has many friends among Belarusian counterparts and that he would be happy to meet them again. The EFC head stressed that Belarus is already fully ready to host the U23 European competitions. “It is a pleasure to work with such partners. In the future Belarus will be able to host both European and world-level fencing tournaments,” Stanislav Pozdnyakov said.
Secretary General of the Belarusian National Olympic Committee Anatoly Kotov noted that fencing will make part of the Second European Games that are due in Minsk in 2019. These large-scale competitions will be a landmark event that will give a new impetus to the sports infrastructure of Belarus. Anatoly Kotov showed the guests around the headquarters of the National Olympic Committee, noting that the place can be used as a venue to host meetings of sports functionaries, press conferences and other events. If there is a need, the National Olympic Committee is ready to provide its premises during the European Fencing U23 Championships in Minsk.