Preparations are complete for next month’s staging of the second European Games in Belarus, delegates at the 40th European Olympic Committees Seminar were told here today.
Standing alongside three members of the Games Organising Committee, Spyros Capralos, chair of the EOC Coordination Commission for Minsk 2019, said: “Minsk is ready to host the Games and I’m confident your athletes and yourselves will have a great experience in Belarus.
“All venues are ready and operational and are waiting for the best European athletes.
“The overlay setting as well as the look of the Games in the venues has already started.
“The Athletes' Village will be excellent. Many of the issues that we raised during the visits of the Coordination Committee have been addressed.
“For example, there has been refurbishing in all the bathrooms in the apartments and new mattresses and bed extensions have been put in place, so your athletes will be really comfortable there.
“As far as the athletics competition goes, there have been some changes to the DNA programme.
“We held a test event 10 days ago and are confident it’s going to be an excellent competition.
“Twenty-four teams will be involved, with the agreement of the European Athletics Federation.”
Capralos brought to the Seminar’s attention the fact that, on June 23, the International Olympic Committee will be inviting Presidents of all European NOCs to celebrate the opening of its new headquarters in Lausanne.
“What we have done in order to facilitate this is to charter a flight,” he said.
“It will leave Minsk very early in the morning and take the Presidents of the LOCs to Lausanne, and come back in the evening.”
Returning to other arrangements for the Games, he added: “The TV production in Minsk will be of high quality. I think we will have great images from the Games.
“A total of 43 European countries will be broadcasting the Games on a daily basis.
“Another seven European countries that don’t have TV rights will be getting daily highlights.
“So the whole of Europe will be getting the Games.
“Around the world there are 83 other countries that have shown interest and acquired the rights.
“So the rest of the world is showing a big interest and of course its normal because it’s only one year before Tokyo 2020 and they know that European athletes are very strong and they want to know how they are doing.
“Finally, we are making efforts with the Olympic Channel so that for the territories where broadcasting and TV rights are not sold, the Olympic Channel can broadcast to those countries.
“I would like to remind everybody here that the European Games is our Games.
"We need to do our best so that this project becomes a big success, so that for the third edition we will have the best lessons so that we have even better Games going forward.”
Siarhei Shablyka, deputy chief executive of the Minsk European Games Organising Committee (MEGOC), echoed the earlier announcement by Capralos that Minsk would be ready to stage the second European Games.
“Construction of all 15 competition venues is complete,” he said.
His fellow MEGOC deputy chief executive, Anatol Kotau, said the second stage of development at Minsk International Airport had also been completed.
He added: “We are about to put on sale 190,000 tickets.
“At the moment karate, athletics, beach soccer and gymnastics look like making the biggest sales.”
Yulia Plyuto, NOC relations and services manager for Minsk 2019, thanked all EOC members for completing and returning questionnaires related to the 2nd European Games.