The Chefs de Mission Seminar for the countries participating in the 2nd European Games in Minsk next year began today in the Belarusian capital.
It was the first of three days of meetings being held at the headquarters of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus.
MEGOC CEO George Katulin said: “The Chefs de Mission visit is one of the key events on the schedule of preparations for any large-scale sports event, taking place less than a year before it begins. We presented our reports on different functional areas for the representatives of the European National Olympic Committees. The main task of the experts, who have extensive experience at the Olympic Games, European Games, and other major events, is to get reliable information to ensure their athletes have a comfortable stay in Belarus so that they can perform at their very best. Their feedback is very important to us. Their advice will help solve existing issues and better meet the needs of the various NOCs.”
Representatives from 49 of the 50 European countries taking part in next year’s Games are taking part in the Chefs de Mission Seminar. In addition to meetings, they will visit the 12 sports venues that will host the competitions, as well as major non-competition venues, including the Athletes' Village and hotels. The tours will give the Chefs de Mission a better idea of the routes and times necessary to travel between the different venues. All 12 venues, 10 of which are existing facilities, are within a 30-minute drive of the Athletes’ Village.
CEO Katulin added: “The NOCs have different interests. For example, the German team will be one of the largest, so they are interested in everything. Representatives of other countries, on the other hand, focus more on the sports where their athletes plan to participate.”
Chefs de Mission and experts from European Olympic Committees (EOC) have already voiced their satisfaction with the seminar’s organization, including everything from the meeting room to hand-out materials, office equipment, Wi-Fi and transportation.
European Games Executive Director Simon Clegg underscored the considerable interest being shown toward the event, as evidenced from the number of countries participating in the multi-sport event.
Speaking of the Chefs de Mission, Clegg said: “For many participants, this visit to Belarus is their first one. This is a great opportunity to explore the city and the country that will host the Games, as well as find out all the necessary information on sports facilities, athletes and delegations’ residence.”
Minister of Sport and Tourism of the Republic of Belarus Sergey Kovalchuk participated in the first part of the seminar. MEGOC representatives gave presentations on all functional areas related to the Games. The Chefs de Mission Seminar covers a wide range of the topics, among them accreditation, sports program, qualification system, application campaign, accommodation, Athletes’ Village, Games facilities, customs regulations, transport system, information technologies, security, official ceremonies, volunteers, marketing and advertising, medicine and anti-doping issues, organization of television broadcasts, communications, press operations and others.
EOC experts, including EOC Sports Consultant Makis Asimakopoulos and EOC Senior Consultant Pierce O’Callaghan, will hold consultations during the week.
In addition, a seminar for press attaches of the NOCs and the representatives of the leading European media will be held from 10-12 July.
EOC experts have overseen all the events dedicated to the various stages of preparation for the upcoming Games. In June, members of the EOC Coordination Commission under the leadership of Spyros Capralos visited Minsk for meetings and to assess progress. In May, MEGOC hosted a seminar for the representatives of sports federations and managers of sports facilities. Technical delegates from sports federations also regularly inspect the venues that will host the Games next year.
The 2nd European Games are scheduled to take place in Minsk from 21-30 June 2019. Over 4,000 athletes from 50 countries will compete in 201 medal events in 15 sports. Competitions in ten sports will count as qualifiers for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.