European Games Executive Director Simon Clegg said today that Belarus has everything needed to host excellent major sporting events.
He made the remark during the ongoing seminar for European National Olympic Committee (ENOC) communications managers and press attachés and representatives from leading European media.
Mr. Clegg said: “Belarus is a great place for large-scale sporting events. I am sure that those who decide to visit Minsk in 2019 will have only positive impressions. The 2nd European Games will be different from what we saw in 2015 in Baku, which is a peculiarity of such a large project – every Games is different. Baku was an amazing experience, but we have to do is deliver something that is right for Belarus in 2019 and that will be very different.”
Clegg pointed out that the first edition of the European Games in Azerbaijan was organized by a mix of local and international staff. In Minsk, however, most of the specialists are from Belarus.
“The preparations for the 2nd European Games also involves foreigner experts, but only in certain areas. At the time of the Games in Baku, Azerbaijan had almost no experience in organizing large-scale events, so it was decided that specialists from abroad were needed. In Belarus, major sporting and cultural events are held throughout the year, and as a result they have great experience here. In addition, Belarus has all the venues necessary to host the 2nd European Games and provide an excellent platform for the competition.”
Clegg predicts that the level of competition at the Games in Minsk will be world class, bringing together the best athletes in each discipline from around Europe. Ten of the 15 sports will act as qualifiers for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, with the European Games also counting as the official European championships for four sports.
He added that the future development of the European Games will benefit from Minsk 2019, where only two of the 12 venues for next year’s Games had to be built from scratch.
“I think we are now at about the right size, but we as an organization have to be flexible,” Clegg said. “We’ve always said the European Games are not about building new facilities, therefore we have to work with cities that can accommodate the European Games. A more flexible approach is required by the EOC to assure that the Games will be sustainable.”
The two-day seminar for ENOC communications managers and press attachés and representatives from leading European media concludes today with a press conference with EOC and MEGOC representatives.