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Opinions & Interviews

11 May 2017

Ukraine shows interest in joint ice hockey championship with Belarus

Ukraine shows interest in joint ice hockey championship with Belarus

MINSK, 11 May (BelTA) – Ukraine is interested in organizing a joint ice hockey championship together with Belarusian teams, Ukraine’s Minister of Youth and Sports Igor Zhdanov said as he met with Belarus’ Sports and Tourism Minister Alexander Shamko in Minsk on 11 May, BelTA has learned.

“We are interested in such a tournament. Ice hockey is well-developed in Belarus. The country has necessary infrastructure. The Ukrainian championship features eight teams that need tough competition to improve their playing skills. Joint competitions are exactly the thing that can provide this practice. This issue should be considered in detail by the ice hockey federations of the two countries,” the Ukrainian minister said.

The ministerial program on cooperation in physical education and sport through 2018 was signed between the Sports and Tourism Ministry of Belarus and the Ukrainian Ministry of Youth and Sports as part of the visit. The document envisages a set of measures to boost mutual beneficial cooperation, prepare the national teams for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and the Summer Games in Tokyo, develop relations in sport science, sports medicine and anti-doping control. The signing ceremony was attended by Ukraine’s Ambassador to Belarus Igor Kizim.

“We invite Ukraine to consider the possibility of using our big sports centers such as Staiki and Raubichi. We also invite our neighbor to closer cooperation at the regional level. For instance, Gomel Oblast and Bryansk Oblast can host different sports events at their modern complexes. The agreement will also give an additional impetus to closer cooperation between the sports federations of the two countries,” Alexander Shamko said.

He supported his Ukrainian counterpart’s idea to consider the possibility of organizing a joint ice hockey championship.

The Belarusian and Ukrainian sports federations enjoy long-standing close and fruitful cooperation. For example, the Belarusian men’s volleyball national team is in Ivano-Frankovsk to take part in an international tournament that will also feature the national teams of Ukraine and Latvia. The competitions will be a rehearsal for the national teams ahead of the 2018 World Men's Volleyball Championship qualifiers scheduled for late May. In June 2017 the Belarusian springboard diving national team will take part in the European Diving Championships in Kiev.

While in Minsk, the Ukrainian delegation also visited the Belarusian State University of Physical Education, the national Olympic centers Staiki, Freestyle and Raubichi, and also attended the final bouts of the World Muay Thai Championships.

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