"The Flame of Peace" continued its triumphant journey across Europe and made its next stop in the capital of Slovenia - Ljubljana.
The honorary consul of the Republic of Belarus in Slovenia - Janez Skrabec - was the first to carry the Flame of the 2nd European Games in Ljubljana.
Symbolically, the relay took off from the “Olympic Watch”, which counts down the time until the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The organizers of the ceremony made sure that everyone could follow the relay live - a screen was installed on a terrace of one of the business centres and it showed the Flame's real-time progress through the Slovenian capital. Accompanied by the official motorcade, Janez Skrabec easily overcame his distance and passed the Flame to the next torchbearer - Saso Bertoncelj, the gold medallist in the men's pommel horse at the 1st European Games' gymnastics competition. Bertoncelj won Slovenia’s first and so far only gold medal at the European Games.
Janez Skrabec, honorary consul of Belarus in Slovenia:
"I am very touched that I was entrusted to serve as torchbearer. The Republic of Belarus is my second homeland. I am glad that I can present my second homeland in the capital of my first one, Slovenia. I will definitely be in Minsk on June 21, and on July 1 I will return to Slovenia to organize a reception in honor of the Republic of Belarus.
"I will support both countries equally in the competition. I already tried to cheer for two countries simultaneously - at the recent hockey world championships for the first division in Nur-Sultan. There, Slovenia played against Belarus. While I was equally sympathetic to both teams, I was still glad that in the end the Belarusians managed to win."
Saso Bertoncelj brought the torch on to the terrace, where everyone was looking forward to the appearance of the symbol of peace and the official presentation of the “Flame of Peace” in Slovenia.
Saso Bertoncelj, champion of the 1st European Games:
"It is a great honor to be a torchbearer of such a relay. I can honestly say that it was my dream. I realised that this dream came true when I took the torch of the 2nd European Games in my hands. Unfortunately, I will not be able to compete in Minsk. I had a series of injuries right before the qualification, and I could not qualify. It's sport, it happens. Of course, I am not getting younger, but, for the time being, I plan to take part in the 3rd European Games."
European Olympic Committees President Janez Kocijancic, as well as the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus in the Republic of Austria and the Republic of Slovenia (part-time) Elena Kupchina also attended the ceremony.
Our mascot Lesik also didn't miss out on the event. Now even in Europe everyone knows - if Lesik is around, no one will be bored!
By the way, in Slovenia Lesik met his Slovenian brother, Foxy, and a new fox friendship was born.