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15 December 2022, 12:39

Lukashenko: National flag and anthem are in the hearts of true athletes

MINSK, 15 December (BelTA) – The National flag and anthem are in the hearts of true athletes, and you cannot change it by imposing bans and restrictions, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he received a report on the development of sports, BelTA has learned.

The head of state stressed that all the necessary conditions have been created in Belarus for the development of sports and the achievement of high results. Sanctions from international or other organizations against Belarusian athletes are not an obstacle here. "Sanctions push the development of sports. Under pressure, an athlete shows the best result if he/she has a character," Aleksandr Lukashenko said. The head of state was informed that Belarusian athletes continue to participate in various international competitions in six sports, but without national symbols. These are tennis, football, checkers, chess, sambo, and as of recently boxing.

"It is bad that they have to compete without state symbols (flag, anthem and other things). But it's not a disaster. True athletes, not the ones who fled abroad and who have not improved their performance since then, keep the flag and anthem in their hearts. This is how it should be if you are true athletes. They compete primarily for people. Not only for themselves but for people, their family, children, who will follow in their footsteps in the future. Money and other benefits are less important," the Belarusian leader stressed.

"You are absolutely right. We analyze and keep an eye, among other things, on the athletes who fled [abroad from Belarus],” Sport and Tourism Minister Sergei Kovalchuk said adding they show poor results.

"They will never show good results there. They are second-class people there," the president said.

"The coaches who have gone abroad... Some are signaling their desire to come back," the minister added.

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