MINSK, 22 February (BelTA) – About 260 Belarusian athletes are preparing for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Sports and Tourism Minister Sergei Kovalchuk said at the collegium of the ministry “Reviewing performance in 2020 and setting tasks for 2021”, BelTA learned from the press service of the National Olympic Committee.
According to Sergei Kovalchuk, the most important and demanding task for the ministry this year is preparation for the Summer Olympics. About 260 athletes in 26 sports are preparing for the Games at the final stage. As of 19 February, 74 Belarusian athletes won Tokyo Olympics berths in 16 sports in 64 disciplines. By the end of the Olympic qualifying period Belarus may secure 100-120 berths in total.
According to the Sports and Tourism Ministry, the successful performance of Belarusian athletes during the Olympic cycle suggests that they are preparing quite effectively for the main upcoming sporting event. Yet, the number of medals won in 2020 decreased due to the cancellation of some competitions amid the pandemic.
Sergei Kovalchuk praised the medal performance of freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestlers, cyclists, rhythmic and artistic gymnasts as well as swimmers who set 35 national, two European and one world records.
Young athletes remain one of the priorities for the ministry. In order to make their training sessions more efficient, the regulatory framework has been amended. For example, the number of students in groups has been changed, the approaches to assigning qualification categories to coaches have been revised. There are plans to optimize Olympic reserve centers in the regions in order to avoid overlapping of functions with sports schools. Along with this, the system of recruiting for Olympic reserve schools has been revised with a focus on priority Olympic sports. Development concepts for a number of sports have been determined.
In addition, a lot of attention was paid to mass sport in Belarus in 2020. Improvement of sports infrastructure will remain one of the country's top priorities. For the first time, the construction of sports facilities was included in the program “Physical Culture and Sports” for 2021-2025. There are plans to build 25 sports and recreation centers and seven swimming pools in the regions.
Taking part in the session of the collegium were Deputy Prime Minister Igor Petrishenko, First Vice President of the National Olympic Committee Viktor Lukashenko and Deputy Education Minister Aleksandr Kadlubai.