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21 Oct 2016

Lukashenko: Belarus can host international competitions of the highest level

MINSK, 21 October (BelTA) – All conditions have been in Belarus to host international competitions of the highest level, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he spoke at the 45th General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in Minsk on 21 October, BelTA has learned.

“Belarus has all conditions for sport and for hosting international competitions of the highest level. I would like to emphasize that all of this has been built fighter exclusively by the state or thanks to its overwhelming role. I am sure that this is the way it should be so. The state should care for the health of its citizens and create all conditions for elite sport. Because today sport is not, unfortunately, out of politics, whether we like it or not. But we must try to make sure that it is part of the honest and sincere politics. This is very important today for the entire planet. Nothing brings people together like sport,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The head of state added that small states have recently become wary of hosting large-scale international competitions, because the bar is very high.

“We need to hold such events in a friendly atmosphere because people who come to see these events want to have fun and relax. It should be done in a way to create ideal conditions for athletes who will do their utmost to show great results. Besides, this competition should be a celebration for fans, it should unite all people in the host country and in the world in general,” the President is convinced. “Belarus will do it. We will do everything to host this competition in a friendly atmosphere. We will do it in a way that you will never regret the decision to hold the European Games in Belarus.”

Alexander Lukashenko noted that Belarus has repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to host international tournaments at the highest level. Belarus has hosted the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, the 2015 FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup. This year the rowing channel in Zaslavl, one of the best in Europe, was the venue of the 2016 ICF Junior & U23 Canoe Sprint World Championships.

“We cherish the legacy of our champions and appreciate the achievements of outstanding athletes from other countries. By their own example they help assert the values of the Olympic movement and nurture a new generation of Belarusian athletes,” the Belarusian leader said.

In addition, the head of state noted that the Christmas amateur ice hockey tournament, biathlon Legends’ Race, which are held in Belarus with participation of sports veterans, have made great contribution to the development of sports diplomacy, friendship and understanding between peoples.

The President said that Belarus prioritizes the development of physical fitness and sport in general. Over 25 years, hundreds of excellent coaches, doctors, and technical specialists who regularly discover new stars have been trained in Belarus. “The infrastructure has been improved significantly. As of today, there are about 23,000 physical fitness and sports facilities in the country. They are actively used for the training of our athletes and by other people,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

Every year about 22,000 mass sport events are held in the country. They are meant to popularize sport and promote a healthy lifestyle. The biggest events are the Belarusian track-and-field competition for the prizes of the Sovetskaya Belorussia newspaper, the Belarusian Ski Track, the Minsk Half Marathon. The most spectacular and popular events for children are the biathlon tournament Snow Sniper, the ice hockey competition Golden Puck, the football tournament Leather Ball, etc.

“We can say for sure that Belarus is an athletic nation,” Alexander Lukashenko concluded.

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