MINSK, 17 March (BelTA) - Belarus and Russia will be doing their best to defend the interests of their athletes who have been banned from international tournaments. The matter was discussed at a working meeting of representatives of sports authorities of the two countries in Moscow on 17 March, BelTA learned from the Belarusian Sports and Tourism Ministry.
Head of the Belarusian delegation, Deputy Sports and Tourism Minister Aleksandr Baraulya emphasized that the main purpose of the visit to the Russian capital is to defend the interests of athletes and coaches, who have suffered most in the current situation. “It is very important for us to make them understand that no one will be abandoned, and competitions will be held, that this is only a temporary period and with joint efforts we will become even stronger. It is also a unique opportunity to look at our internal reserves. We have an opportunity to be stronger, to be together,” he said
According to Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation Oleg Matytsin, today as never before it is important to show solidarity. In these circumstances it is necessary to consolidate efforts, to exchange more experience and knowledge. Belarusian and Russian athletes, coaches, professionals and industry leaders have always stayed united. Representatives of Belarus and Russia will adopt decisions on further joint work at the joint session of the sports ministries in Minsk next week.
“We will protect the interests of our athletes as much as possible, including from the legal point of view. At the same time we are not going into isolation, we continue to cooperate because there are reasonable voices in the international sports community and many sports figures say that discriminatory measures have been taken against the Belarusian and Russian athletes. We hope that our teams will return to international sport as soon as possible,” said Oleg Matytsin. He also thanked the Belarusian side for the decision of the Belarusian team to participate in the Alternative Winter Paralympic Games “We are Together. Sport”, which kick off in Khanty-Mansiysk on 18 March. The games will feature athletes from Belarus, Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.