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Belarus wants to host 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships

Belarus can host world-class competitions. This was confirmed by President of the European Athletics Association Hansjorg Wirz at a meeting with Alexander Lukashenko on January 9.

Belarus may host the 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships. The President of Belarus expressed readiness to create all conditions for the organization in Belarus of the international athletics championship. This is a great incentive for the development of sport in this country.

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President: 
I want to assure you that if you have interest in Belarus in connection with the holding of various meetings, conferences, international competitions here, you can always count on us. Thank you for supporting our athletics federation, thanks for improving our coaches' skills, for participation in preparation for the transfer of training methods. You know that we have recently elected a new chairman of the federation. We want to pay serious attention to the development of athletics in our country. If we proceed from the practical side, athletics is the queen of sport. This is a discipline in which the majority of medals are contested at the Olympics and other international competitions. We have very good traditions when it comes to the development of various kinds of sport. I think that we will restore these traditions and you will soon hear a lot of good things about our Belarusian athletes. If you have a desire and ability to bring international competitions to Belarus, up to the World Championship in Athletics, we will create all conditions for this. We know how to do it, and the recent IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship proved this. It was the best in the history of the world championships. So you can hope that the athletics competition that may be held in Belarus will also be the best in the world and will be remembered for a long time by the sports community.

Hansjorg Wirz, president of the European Athletics Association (Switzerland):
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to meet with you and discuss prospects for the development of sport. First of all, let me congratulate you on the excellent results that Belarusian athletes reached in Zurich. We have already been staying in Belarus for a few days and we had the opportunity to see what kind of sports infrastructure you have built. I would agree with your words that Belarus could host sports events of global importance. The recent world ice hockey championship is a confirmation of this. Now we consider it our duty to accept your offer to hold such events.

Hansjorg Wirz also poitned out that many spectators take interest in Belarusian sport.

Athletics in Belarus began to develop a hundred years ago. Back then, in Gomel, a community of sports fans held the first competitions in running, jumping and throwing. This trend was picked up by other Belarusian cities like Minsk, Mogilev and Brest. 

Today the sport is well represented in almost all the schools of Belarus. High-class athletes are trained at specialized centers.

Some 25 years ago, the Belarusian Athletics Federation became a member of the International Association and the European Athletics Association. Already in 1996, a Belarusian athletics team participated in the Olympic Games in Atlanta. Since then, Belarus has won nearly two dozen Olympic medals in athletics.

Vadim Dzevyatouski, chairman of the Belarusian Athletics Federation:
We were instructed to put in order all the infrastructure, to see what issues remain and how we need to address them. Today I found out that the President took up athletics in the past, and very successfully. He ran sprints and threw the shot while serving in the army. The results announced by the President are impressive.
Athletics is the most democratic sport, affordable sport. And we will work in this direction with the Ministry of Education to ensure that physical education classes are held in the way that helps us discover talents.

Marina Arzamasova, Belarusian runner:
I hope that will mean greater opportunities for coaches and athletes. We will once again practise the organization of top-level sporting events.

Hansjorg Wirz and Alexander Lukashenko