MINSK, 15 July (BelTA) – The 2nd European Games have contributed to the health of the nation, Belarus Sport and Tourism Minister Sergei Kovalchuk said in an interview with Belarus 1 TV channel, BelTA has learned.
When asked about the outcome of the sporting event, the minister noted that the country has benefited a lot. “We did benefit in any way. Let's have a loot at what has been done. Many sports facilities have been reconstructed and refurbished, transport infrastructure improved. The city has changed for the better. The sports gear for all kinds of sports was purchased in full. All this will remain at our disposal,” he said.
“But the most important thing is that we got a huge and priceless experience of hosting a major sporting event. We have never played host to such a big tournament,” Sergei Kovalchuk noted. “It is a contribution to the social sector, to the health of the nation. It is therefore very important for us,” he added. According to him, after the European Games foreign colleagues have expressed the opinion that Belarus could host Olympic Games.
Belarusian athletes won 69 medals at the games. “It's a good result. We were hoping for 46 medals in various sports. 23 medals above the target is a success for our country,” Sergei Kovalchuk said.
The minister recalled that the president congratulated the Belarusian winners of the games. “His spokesperson called the winners to congratulate each of them,” he said.
Sergei Kovalchuk also spoke about the attendance in the fan zones and sports facilities during the 2nd European Games. “Every day the security desk in the fan zone near the Sports Palace registered about 20,000 people. In peak competitive days on 25-27 June all sports facilities reported near-full attendances,” he informed.
Speaking about the drawbacks, the minister noted that the capacity to attract foreign visitors to Belarus was not used in full. “We could have attracted more tourists from Europe. But the lack of experience probably took its toll. Probably we could have better organized our marketing and advertising work. Professionals should draw lessons and make adjustments as we host sports tournaments in the future,” the minister said.
Minsk 2019 was the second European Games and featured approximately 4,000 of the continent's best athletes from 50 nations competing in 200 medal events across 15 sports over 11 days of competition. A total of 213,000 tickets was sold. Belarus was granted the right to host the 2nd European Games in 2019 at the 45th meeting of the General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in Minsk in October 2016.More about Sport