Calculating and waiting

92 days are left until the Rio de Janeiro Olympics

92 days are left until the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The countdown for the last hundred days until the 31st Olympic torch is lit has been launched at the Olympic Time board, near Minsk’s Palace of Sports

Olympic stela in Minsk
At present, the figures are intriguing: 104 qualifications, 19 sports and 74 events. In comparison, eight years ago, 183 Belarusian athletes participated in the Beijing Olympics and, generally, the number of our sportsmen at the Games has never been lower than 139 — beginning with Sydney-2000. Against this, our present number of 104 doesn’t seem impressive. However, the First Deputy President of the National Olympic Committee, Maxim Ryzhenkov, is optimistic, “These qualifications indicate that we sustain a high level of results in the major sports and can compete with the global leaders. We are great at rowing, calisthenics, wrestling, swimming, track and field athletics and weightlifting. The analysis shows that we can count on around 145-150 competitors overall.”

Qualification competitions in many sports will continue until July so there is still time for more athletes to qualify. Alexander Shamko, Minister for Sports and Tourism, believes that it wouldn’t be a catastrophe if the numbers remained at the same level. “Before the Sochi Winter Olympics, there were many comments about the country with the lowest number of participants and in the end, their result was the best in the history of its performance. With this in mind, we are not planning to bring as many sportsmen as possible to Rio de Janeiro. We’ve decided for example, that the men’s sporting gymnastic team won’t take part in the qualification competition as they’re unlikely to achieve great results in Rio (even if they manage to meet the standard). Participation of young people in the Olympics is a priority as they need experience of performing in a high level event, veterans, even though they are keen to be included, may not be first choice,” he says.

By Igor Grishin
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