MINSK, 26 February (BelTA) – A priority task for Belarusian sports in the coming months is to put together an efficient team for the Tokyo Olympics, Belarus President, President of the National Olympic Committee Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the Olympic meeting of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Belarus on 26 February, BelTA has learned.
Top on the agenda of the meeting were preparations for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The head of state asked senior officials of the Sports and Tourism Ministry what lessons were learned from the Rio Olympics and what was done to improve the training process.
“As always, there are many expectations and promises. Although the Olympic selection for Tokyo is not over yet, it is already clear that our team sports (with the exception of 3x3 basketball) have failed. There are no licenses in boxing, judo, karate, taekwondo, and fencing yet. We expect more from wrestlers, track-and-field athletes, and shooters,” the president emphasized.
The head of state noted that in recent years Belarus has significantly improved the infrastructure of mass and elite sports. Belarus kept holding competitions and national championships despite the pandemic and widespread lockdown. No other countries in the world could offer such training opportunities as Belarus did.
“Despite the absence of official competitions, I responded to your request to extend the payment of presidential scholarships for a year to athletes and coaches seeking to take part in the Olympics. Everything possible and impossible was done for athletes and coaches in these difficult conditions. Therefore, the primary task for the coming months is to put together an efficient team for Tokyo. Excuses are not accepted, and there cannot be any! We do need a ‘combat-ready' squad in Tokyo. We will go there to fight, it will not be easy for us. There will be attempts from all the sides to crush us, the same way as Russia,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
According to the president, real champions are those who are able to deliver results in any conditions, against all the odds, in the face of fierce competition and intrigues of jealous people; real champions are those who score impressive victories for their country, family and friends, coaches and teammates.
The head of state also recalled that the Olympic Games will be held amidst unprecedented COVID-19 measures and restrictions, and this should be taken into account, because anything can happen. The president emphasized that it is necessary to be prepared to address issues related to acclimatization of athletes, the transfer of the delegation and cargo to the Olympic Village, the organization of training, everyday life and medical services.
“Everything is in place to help our athletes perform well. If more is needed, more will be done. Everything depends on athletes. What else should be done to make sure that our performance in Tokyo will not be embarrassing? Let's have a meaningful and candid discussion of what else needs to be done. Tactics and strategies have long been known, they have been determined. Athletes and especially coaches know very well how to help athletes reach their peak performance. Please go ahead and do it. I repeat once again: say what you need and we will take additional measures,” Aleksandr Lukashenko concluded.