“FLAME OF PEACE”: VIENNESE SOUL AND FANTASTIC WELCOME IN BUDAPEST
May 10 2019

The next segment of the “Flame of Peace” relay turned out to be incredibly intense. For the first time since the relay start, the Flame passed through two capitals in one day - Vienna and Budapest. 

The guests of the ceremony not only learned about the “Flame of Peace” relay, but were also to meet Austria’s main medal hopefuls at the upcoming 2nd European Games. The Chef de Mission for Austria in Minsk, Christoph Sieber, led the official part of the ceremony himself. Sieber won the gold medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in sailing.

Christoph Sieber, Austria’s Chef de Mission at the 2nd European Games of 2019:

“The torch relay is a wonderful event. I am very glad that Vienna got the honour of hosting part of this event. The “Flame of Peace” is a symbol of friendship and unity of the European continent. Unfortunately, we were a little unlucky with the weather, but this only made me even more impressed with the courage of the bikers, who are continuing their journey through Europe despite the weather conditions.”

The famous violinist and winner of multiple international competitions Yulia Lebedenko was one of the torchbearers in Vienna. She shared her emotions from participating in the relay:

“It is a great honour for me to be a torchbearer of such a wonderful relay. I hope that the 2nd European Games will draw the attention of all Europe to our country. The "Flame of Peace" relay has already become the hallmark of the 2nd European Games, and if someone had any doubts about whether to visit Belarus, now these doubts will surely disappear.”

After the relay route in Vienna was completed, the Flame traveled on to Budapest. Here the Flame got one of its biggest welcomes, so far. Hungary’s National Olympic Committee blocked off the entire centre of the capital city to organise a run through its central streets with more than 100 torchbearers taking part. 

Hungary’s NOC President Krisztian Kulcsar was the first to raise the “Flame of Peace” torch in Budapest. 

The ambassador of Belarus to Hungary Alexander Ponomarev, head of the biker club “The One Chapter Belarus” Yevgeny Beyzak, and Belarusian footballer and player of FC Ferencvarosi Nikolai Sihnevich wrapped up the relay’s route through Budapest.

Nikolai Sihnevich, Belarusian footballer and player of FC Ferencvarosi:

“I am very proud that the choice fell on me, and I was considered worthy of this honour, to be the torchbearer for the “Flame of Peace” relay. Of course, when I learned that I got this role, I did not immediately appreciate what this meant. Over time, when I shared this news with my wife and relatives, I felt how important this is for our country.”

Krisztian Kulcsar, President of Hungary’s National Olympic Committee:

“We are very pleased that the path of the relay passes through Budapest. We tried to create a real festival around this event, and we are grateful to the organisers of the relay for having met our wishes, allowing us to organise the celebration exactly the way we wanted. We tried to combine both sporting and basic human values in it. The last time that the Flame of a similar relay was in Budapest was about 50 years ago, ahead of the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Therefore, today's meeting with the “Flame of Peace” is a very emotional moment for all residents of Budapest and Hungary. Thanks to such relays, you start to understand the importance of such events in the modern world.”

Next up on the relay route - Bratislava and Brno. But for now, let us just say, thank you very much, Vienna and Budapest!

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