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Belarus to bid for hosting European Indoor Athletics Championships in 2019

Country ready to organise everything at highest level

By Yegor Glebov

Belarus to bid for hosting European Indoor Athletics Championships in 2019

Vadim Devyatovsky, the Chairman of the Belarusian Athletics Federation, notes that Minsk-Arena speed skating stadium could host the continental winter European track-and-field event. The Vice President of the European Athletics Association, Jean Gracia, recently toured the facilities at Minsk-Arena and the new track-and-field indoor stadium at the Belarusian State University of Physical Culture.

Jean Gracia (C) during his visit to track-and-field stadium
Jean Gracia (C) during his visit to track-and-field stadium

According to the Director General of Belarus’ biggest sports complex, Nikolay Ananiev, the ice rink can be used for athletic tracks, and can accommodate up to 5,000 fans during the track-and-field continental championship. Moreover, there is room to allocate media representatives and VIP boxes. If Belarus wins the tender to host the European level tournament, it aims to impress — building on the reputation it has gained from hosting the IIHF World Championship in May 2014. Mr. Devyatovsky underlines that one of Minsk’s main advantages is its well-developed infrastructure around Minsk-Arena: at least five hotels, as well as shopping centres, restaurants and cafes. The new track-and-field stadium commissioned for the Belarusian State University of Physical Education is close to Minsk-Arena, providing perfect conditions for training, alongside related recovery and rehabilitation after the tournament, working alongside Minsk-Arena.

Having thoroughly toured the facilities, Jean Gracia stressed that he was surprised at their level. However, he added that there are always many bidders for the European winter athletics competition, so Belarus needs to carefully prepare its application, taking into account every small detail. Nevertheless, he believes that Minsk has a good chance of gaining the support from the European Athletics Association leadership for its bid.

While in Minsk, Jean Gracia also met the Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee, Georgy Katulin, who expressed interest in closer co-operation with the European Athletics Association and the organisation of major international competitions in Belarus.
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