MINSK, 25 August (BelTA) - Belarusian Paralympic athletes performed well in We are Together. Sport Games in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Today they are rightly receiving their deserved congratulations and awards, Belarusian Sport and Tourism Minister Sergei Kovalchuk said as he presented awards to the Belarusian medalists on 25 August, BelTA has learned.
Last winter the Belarusian team was preparing to participate in the 13th Winter Paralympics in Beijing, but just hours before their opening of the games the Belarusians and Russians were banned from taking part in the Olympic competitions. “This was an unprecedented decision. It absolutely does not comply with the Olympic Charter and simply common sense. Athletes with disabilities have been preparing for four years, and all of a sudden they are suspended at the start of the games, being deprived of their dreams,” the minister said. After this absurd decision Russia promptly organized “We are Together. Sport” Games in Khanty-Mansiysk, where Paralympians from several countries were able to demonstrate their skills.
The winter games We are Together. Sport were attended by athletes from Belarus, Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Competitions were held in six sports: cross-country skiing, biathlon, curling, snowboarding, alpine skiing and sledge hockey. The Belarusian team won 16 medals in the biathlon and cross-country skiing: five gold, two silver and nine bronze medals.
Champions and medalists of the Games Dzmitry Budzilovich, Yury Holub, Dzmitry Loban, Lidziya Loban, Sviatlana Matoryna, Raman Svirydzenka, Vladimir Chepelin, Valiantsina Shyts and Darya Fedzkovich received money certificates from the Sport and Tourism Ministry. In addition, Darya Fedzkovich, who won four medals in Khanty-Mansiysk, was awarded the title of the International Master of Sports of the Republic of Belarus in Cross-Country Skiing. The coaches, doctors and specialists who took part in the training of Belarusian Paralympic athletes also received money certificates.
Two-time champion of We are Together. Sport Games Sviatlana Matoryna said that the entire Belarusian team really wanted to perform in Beijing and show their best there. However, these plans could not be fulfilled. Fortunately Khanty-Mansiysk hosted the competitions which were organized at a high level, and where the Belarusian Paralympians had an opportunity to compete alongside the best athletes from other countries.