Warsaw marked the last city on the “Flame of Peace’s” European tour. The welcoming ceremony took place in the headquarters of the Polish Olympic Committee.
Polish sprinter Martyna Dabrowska and the Belarusian journalist Viktor Korbut carried the torch in Poland’s capital.
The ceremony started with welcome speeches from distinguished guests. The President of the Polish Olympic Committee Andrzej Krasnicki, Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus to the Republic of Poland Vladimir Chushev, as well as athletes who will take part in the 2nd European Games attended the ceremony.
Andrzej Krasnicki, President of the Polish Olympic Committee:
“Today's welcome for the 'Flame of Peace' at the National Olympic Center in Warsaw is a wonderful ceremony that will strengthen relations between Belarus and Poland, and not only in the sports sphere. The 'Flame of Peace' symbolises Olympic values, which are very important to us. Of course, sport is always a competition, but it is very important that it takes place in a fair fight. Moreover, the principles of friendship and mutual respect are also essential attributes of fair competition. All of them are united in the common goal represented by the 'Flame of Peace' relay."
Vladimir Chushev, Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus to the Republic of Poland:
“We have prepared for the presentation of the 'Flame of Peace' relay in Poland very seriously. Various structures were involved, both from the Polish and Belarusian sides. The 2nd European Games will be widely represented in Poland. Today we saw only the first stage. The presentation of the Games will continue on May 25 in Warsaw at the traditional Olympic picnic. There we want to show the sports and tourist potential of Belarus. We expect the arrival of our Olympic champions, who will help to represent our country well. At the moment, about 200,000 to 300,000 people plan to visit the picnic.”
As has become tradition, the ceremony was attended by bikers from the “The one chapter Belarus” club, who have transported the “Flame of Peace” all the way from Rome. The club’s road captain Maxim Emelyanov shared his thoughts on the trip:
“We already have experience of similar long trips around Europe, thus we managed to foresee many of the challenges. Of course, the most difficult thing for motorcycles is weather conditions. For example, when we left Courmayeur in the morning, we overcame a pass, which had opened just half an hour before. The snow drifts there were about 5 metres high. We were a bit lucky that the weather was frosty and the asphalt was dry. It was probably one of the most difficult sections. We gathered ourselves together and pushed through to fulfill our tasks along the route. The 'Flame of Peace' was supposed to be at the next point right on schedule."
Sergey Khomich, the Head of Ceremonies and the Cultural Program at the Minsk European Games Organising Committee (MEGOC), summarised the foreign stage of the torch relay:
“We understood that people throughout Europe will be waiting for our relay, but we could not have imagined how warm the reception would be. Interestingly, in each country the ceremony had its own unique character. Of course, the biggest event was the presentation of the 'Flame of Peace' in Hungary, where there was a large run organized through Budapest. It's nice that everywhere we saw a genuine interest in the competitions, which will start in Minsk very soon.”