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Opinions & Interviews

5 Sep 2016

Lukashenko comments on performance of Belarus’ ice hockey team in Olympic qualification

Lukashenko comments on performance of Belarus’ ice hockey team in Olympic qualification

MINSK, 5 September (BelTA) – Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko commented on the performance of the Belarusian ice hockey team in the 2018 Olympic qualification at the meeting with President of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Rene Fasel, BelTA informs.

Belarus lost the last match to Slovenia in a shootout and will not take part in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang (the Republic of Korea). “I my opinion, it must have happened because we still remember how the team played at the last world championship in May 2016. In spite of spending the whole summer to prepare for these Games, they, perhaps, went on a summer vacation. Therefore, the result is logical: those who wanted to get an Olympic berth, did it,” Alexander Lukashenko noted.

The President said that he is disappointed with the performance of the Belarusian team; however, not as much as someone might think. “I knew that it could happen,” the head of state explained. “It is better that they have lost now and will not compete at the Olympics. We will not have to watch them playing like that in 2018. I do not think that there would be any serious changes in a year.”

“I am sorry for our ice hockey fans who wanted their team to win. I know why they lost, and we will correct the situation,” the head of state emphasized.

Rene Fasel, in turn, noted that the 2018 Olympic qualification was difficult for all participants. The Belarusian team surprised me. It was active throughout the match with Slovenia and deserves respect and proves that the team has strong spirit. However, there were some setbacks at the end of the match and the team lost, the IIHF President said.

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