By Laman Ismayilova
The sports facilities of Minsk are ready to host the second European Games in 2019, Sports Director of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) Pierce O'Callaghan said during his three-day inspection visit to the Belarusian capital on January 8, BelTA reported.
Pierce O'Callaghan has wide experience in organizing large-scale sports events. For instance, he also served as Sports Director of the First European Games in Baku.
He named the visit to Minsk as a historical milestone, adding that the inspection gives start to the 2019 European Games.
“During this three-day visit we saw all the sports infrastructure that will be used during the competitions: the rowing canal at Zaslavl, Minsk Arena, the Palace of Sports, the Timoshenko Shooting Range, Chizhovka Arena. I can say with confidence that Minsk sports facilities are 100% ready to host the Second Summer European Games,” said Pierce O'Callaghan.
Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee of Belarus Anatoly Kotov stressed that Belarus will use the positive experience gained during the 2014 IIHF World Championship to get ready for the 2019 European Games. Apart from the sports infrastructure, Pierce O'Callaghan also visited a number of hotels in Minsk, a student village in Dzherzhinsky Avenue and hailed their level.
The inaugural European Games were held in Baku on June 12-28, 2015, with participation of over 6,000 sportsmen.
The Baku 2015 European Games become the biggest sporting event in Azerbaijan's history. The country was awarded the Games by the European Olympic Committee in December 2012.
The country gathered over 6,000 athletes from across Europe to compete in 20 sports, 16 of which are Olympic sports and 12 of which are qualifiers for 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Russia grabbed the most of the medals at the Games, 164 in total, 79 of which are gold. Azerbaijan came in second with 56 medals, 21 gold, and Great Britain followed with 47 medals, 18 of which were gold.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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