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Second European Games in Belarus

21 Oct 2016

Lukashenko: Belarus ready to host 2019 European Games

Lukashenko: Belarus ready to host 2019 European Games

MINSK, 21 October (BelTA) – Belarus is ready to host the 2019 European Games, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with Acting President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) Janez Kocijancic on 21 October, BelTA has learned.

The head of state stressed that the EOC can always count on Belarus. “Belarus is not a superpower. But we pay a lot of attention to sport,” the Belarusian leader noted. “I want our European organization to be as good as the organizations on other continents and the International Olympic Committee. In this regard I am a nationalist and a patriot. Therefore, you can count on Belarus.”

“Should the EOC wish to hold any event in Belarus, we are ready to support our organization at any moment and organize any events,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

Acting President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) Janez Kocijancic“We have made a historic decision, and will welcome European athletes for our Olympics in 2019,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The head of state remarked that he is aware of the details of Belarus’ talks with the EOC. In this context, he suggested clarifying certain details. “For example, there is a need to determine the number and kinds of sports to be included in the program of the European Games in Belarus. I am in favor of inviting a maximum number of athletes to Belarus. It is a celebration for them. The more athletes arrive, the more supporters we will have in our European organization. A bigger number of sports in the program will promote the development of these sports,” the President said.

He added that the holding of the European Youth Olympic Festival in 2019 is also on the agenda. “We will also look at this competition. Perhaps, we will be able, if there are no contradictions, to hold them in Belarus, and then we will host our European Games, if it suits you. We should explore these details,” the head of state said.

Lukashenko: Belarus ready to host 2019 European GamesAlexander Lukashenko also expressed support to Patrick Hickey who had been the President of the European Olympic Committees until recently and was accused of certain violations. “We have a mutual good friend – Mr. Hickey. Unfortunately, he is not here today, but I am convinced that he will join us. In fact, the methods that are used by a number of countries today are not only inadmissible for sport but also for the development of our world in general. The accusations of ticket touting are ridiculous because the resale of tickets is not an option for a person who had been dealing with hundreds of millions of dollars... At least, they could have come up with a plausible reason,” the Belarusian leader noted.

Janez Kocijancic, for his part, remarked that he views the President of Belarus not only as the leader of the country but also as a friend of the Olympic movement. “Everything that you have said absolutely coincides with my opinion and my approaches,” he said.

Janez Kocijancic said that he attended a number of sports events in Belarus. The country has excellent infrastructure for hosting world sports competitions. “All the feedback that we have received was not just positive, but very enthusiastic,” he stated. “Therefore, we appreciate your readiness to host the Second European Games. I absolutely agree with you that we need additional talks on the details.”

The EOC Acting President believes that the European Games in Belarus should become a qualification stage for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. “This will be an opportunity for Belarus to demonstrate to the rest of Europe its uniqueness and authenticity both in sport and as a country in general,” Janez Kocijancic added.

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