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| Home | About Belarus | Sport | European Games MINSK 2019

European Games MINSK 2019

The 2nd European Games MINSK 2019 were held in Minsk, Belarus from 21 to 30 June 2019. More than 3,500 athletes from 50 countries competed in 200 medal events in 15 sports (23 disciplines) and for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics berths.

Such a big tournament was the first experience in the history of sovereign Belarus. Experts from different countries hailed Minsk as an excellent host, highlighted the thought-out organizational management and hospitality of Belarus that is capable of hosting even bigger events.

Team Belarus at the European Games placed second in the overall medal standings with 69 medals (24 gold, 16 silver and 29 bronze).

Team Belarus did well at the 1st European Games in Baku in 2015 finishing 7th in the overall medal standings with 43 medals (10 gold, 11 silver and 22 bronze).

2nd European Games in Figures

  • 3,604 athletes from all 50 countries of the European Olympic Committees;
  • Athletes from 43 countries won medals, with Team Russia topping the chart with 109 medals;
  • 8,700 volunteers;
  • 213,000 tickets sold;
  • More than 1200 media representatives from different countries;
  • 196 countries purchased the rights to broadcast the European Games, with the total amount of live coverage at 521 hours.

Minsk - Host City of the 2nd European Games

Decision to award Belarus the right to host the 2nd European Games was taken on 21 October 2016 following the voting of delegates from 50 countries at the 45th meeting of the General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in Minsk.

The arguments in favor of Minsk included the well-developed sports infrastructure, extensive experience in hosting high-level international competitions, qualified specialists and, of course, support from the NOC head, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko.

“The European Games will be a good opportunity to test strength ahead of the Tokyo Summer Olympics and will help unite the spirit of European athletes,” said EOC President Janez Kocijancic who immediately visited Belarus after being appointed the head of this influential sports organization.

The contract to conduct the European Games outlining the basic principles of the forum was signed by Minsk Mayor Office and the EOC Executive Committee on 1 September 2017. It stipulated the ticket program, accreditation, accommodation, the opening and closing ceremonies.

Program

Minsk European Games Organizing Committee (MEGOC) received a record high number of applications from the federations in 43 sports. However, the organizers decided to make the maximum use of the existing infrastructure and to hold competitions in the most popular sports.

The 2019 European Games featured 15 sports: badminton, 3x3 basketball, boxing, wrestling (freestyle wrestling, Greco-Roman wrestling, women’s), cycling (track and road), gymnastics (artistic, rhythmic, acrobatic, aerobic and trampoline), canoe sprint, judo, karate, athletics, sambo, archery, shooting (rifle & pistol and shortgun), table tennis, and beach football.

Eight sports offered qualifications for the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo: cycling, canoe sprint, karate, athletics, archery, rifle & pistol and shortgun, table tennis, 3x3 basketball. The European Games served as the European Championships for boxing and judo.

Athletics, one of the most spectacular sports, was presented at the European Games in a new format – Dynamic New Athletics – DNA. The competitions featured 24 teams (over 20 athletes, both men and women, on every team). The engaging new format included 9 events, with a focus on the key concepts of athletics: running, jumping and throwing.  The teams competed n a knock-out format over several days.

Check out the best moments of the 2nd European Games Please in our sporting chronicle:

Arenas

In January 2017 Minsk hosted the Inspection Commission led by EOC Sport Director Pierce O’Callaghan who came to examine the preparedness of the Belarusian capital for the 2019 European Games. After checking all the arenas, hotels and the Student Village the specialists noted that Minsk was 100% ready for the upcoming forum.

The venues of the 2019 European Games:

  • Dinamo Stadium (athletics; the opening and closing ceremonies, the games press center)
  • Minsk Arena (artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, acrobatic gymnastics, aerobic gymnastics and trampoline gymnastics; track cycling)
  • Chizhovka Arena (judo, karate)
  • Sports Palace (sambo, Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, women's wrestling)
  • Olympiysky Sports Complex (beach soccer, archery)
  • Falcon Club (badminton)
  • Sporting Club (shooting  - shortgun)
  • Shooting Center (shooting – rifle & pistol)
  • Palova Arena (3x3 basketball)
  • Tennis Palace (table tennis)
  • Uruchie sports center (boxing)
  • Regatta course in Zaslavl (canoe sprint)

Symbols and Mascot

The 2nd European Games were held under the motto Bright Year, Bright You. Belarus presented the motto at the meeting of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in Skopje on 21 May 2017. Another slogan, The Time of Great Victories, was also used, in Russian and Belarusian.

The logo of the 2nd European Games was inspired by the slogan “Follow Your Dream”. In Belarus, there is a legend about a fern flower. The one who finds the flower on Kupala Night will have his wishes and dreams come true. The athletes from all over Europe who gathered in Minsk in June 2019 followed their dream to become a champion.

Lesik the Fox was the official mascot for the 2nd European Games MINSK 2019.

Star Ambassadors of 2nd European Games MINSK 2019

The job of the star ambassadors was to attract public attention to the games, promote and build a positive image of the event in Belarus and abroad, popularize sports included in the program of the 2nd European Games.

Star Ambassadors of the 2nd European Games MINSK 2019:

  • Four-time Olympic champion, Hero of Belarus Darya Domracheva
  • Famous circus animal tamers Askold and Edgard Zapashny
  • Olympic canoe sprint champion Aliaksandr Bahdanovich
  • Belarusian marathoner Volha Mazuronak
  • Three-time Olympic wrestling champion Aleksandr Medved
  • Blogger and TV presenter Anna Bond
  • Pianist and conductor, artistic director of the International Yuri Bashmet Festival Rostislav Krimer
  • UNICEF representative in Belarus Rashed Mustafa Sarwar
  • Singer Ani Lorak
  • Miss Belarus 2018, Miss World Europe 2018 Maria Vasilevich
  • Honored master of sports, five-time Olympic medalist in fencing Aleksandr Romankov
  • Belarusian pop singer and composer Ruslan Alekhno
  • Olympic champion in figure skating Alexei Yagudin
  • Five-time Olympic champion, five-time world champion, two-time European champion and many-time USSR champion Nellie Kim.

Visa-free program during 2nd European Games MINSK 2019

Belarus has visa free agreements with a number of countries whose citizens can enter Belarus without visas via any border checkpoint. Moreover, citizens of other countries can visit Belarus without visas provided they enter Belarus via Minsk National Airport.

The organizers offered even more convenient conditions during the European Games similar to the visa-free program enforced during the 2014 IIHF World Championship. Belarus granted visa-free entry for the participants, officials and organizers of the games and other specialists as from 20 May 2019. Foreign fans could enter Belarus without visas as from 10 June.

The competitions lasted for almost two weeks. The government extended the duration of visa-free stay for the European Games participants and guests till 10 July 2019. Foreign tourists had an opportunity to support their athletes and also see Belarusian landmarks.

Minsk Guest Card was designed for tourists coming to the Belarusian capital. It was basically a tourist program which provided discounts and bonuses for visits to museums, shopping centers, restaurants, and cafes. A special edition of Minsk Guest Card was offered for the European Games. It included proposals to athletes and fans.

Various maps, guidebooks, and pocket encyclopedias were available in retail. Belarusian travel agencies offered new excursions programs to every taste and budget.

Мinsk Transport Infrastructure

In the buildup to the 2nd European Games 2019 Minsk had upgraded its bus and trolleybus fleets and developed an integral public transport lane system. In 2018-2019 the Belarusian capital launched around 80 electric buses that recharge in five minutes and last for 13 miles (saving up to 14% in energy costs).

A comprehensive plan of transport services had been developed in Minsk ahead of the 2nd European Games. It was based on the experience of the hosts of the previous Olympics and the First European Games: Beijing, London, and Baku. The idea was to ensure a 30-minute travel to any sports facility in the capital.

Accommodation: Hotels and Athletes Village

During the 2nd European Games the inflow of tourists, according to preliminary estimates, was about 37,500.

The memorandum to cap hotel prices during the 2nd European Games 2019 secured comfortable conditions for guests. Budget hotels  envisaged a package of services, including accommodation, transfer, catering, and rental of football pitches, skating stadiums, ice rinks and cycling tracks.

During the 2014 IIHF World Championship many fans lived in the fan village in Dzerzhinskogo Avenue. The Minsk authorities used it for the 2019 European Games as well. However, this time it was used as the Athletes Village. It accommodated over 6,500 members of official delegations and participants of the games.

A 25-storied dormitory for 1,800 people opened in the Minsk Students Village in December 2018. The entire student compound is designed to accommodate 8,740 people.

 The Students Village also included a catering pavilion for the official participants of the competitions. With the area of 5,500m2 it is designed to seat 2,000 people and is divided in two units. One of them hosts a dining and a 60m food service line. It offered grill dishes, European cuisine dishes, pizza, pasta, Belarusian cuisine, Halal and kosher food, dietary and vegetarian dishes. The second unit opened 24/7 offered cold and hot drinks, snacks. The catering program also included Asian cuisine dishes: miso soup, noodles, and so on.

Volunteers at 2nd European Games MINSK 2019

The registration of volunteers for the 2nd European Games MINSK 2019 kicked off in 2017 to last through 1 April 2019. The main requirements for candidates were to speak foreign languages and know the specifics of different sports. A total of 24,168 applications from 106 countries were received. According to the organizers, some 8,700 volunteers were needed to the games. This big team included Belarusians and about 300 foreigners. Among them were students, adult volunteers, who had already volunteered at big sports events and “silver volunteers”. For example, the most experienced volunteer at the Minsk Games was 81-year-old representative of the UK.

Volunteers received training in various fields to learn about their future work and sports facilities. A part of cooperation between MEGOC and the Belarusian Red Cross some 300 volunteers were trained to provide first aid.

At the 2nd European Games volunteers worked in 34 areas. They helped not only at the sports facilities of Minsk but also across Belarus in regional fan zones and border checkpoints. Volunteers took an active part in the opening ceremony of the Games and played the main role alongside with athletes at the closing ceremony.

Speaking at the closing ceremony Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said that it is necessary to preserve volunteers’ experience. He instructed the government to develop a databank of the volunteer movement and use their knowledge and talent for the development of the country. “We cannot afford losing 8,000 people, who had been preparing for this event for two years, who had learned how to provide first aid and support, who know how to speak many languages,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

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