Patrick Hickey: Belarus sets a good example of government-NOC cooperation
MINSK, 8 September (BelTA) - Belarus sets a good example of cooperation of the state with the National Olympic Committee and sports organizations, the President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC), Ireland NOC President Patrick Hickey said in a meeting of President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko with members of the EOC Executive Committee meeting.
Patrick Hickey stressed that Belarus athletes perform well at international competitions and win a lot of medals, which this is evidence of large investments of the state in sport. “We see this as a good investment on the part of Belarus,” Patrick Hickey said.
It is important that the National Olympic Committee in Belarus is headed by Alexander Lukashenko, Patrick Hickey said. He also spoke highly of the work of the General Secretary of the Belarusian National Olympic Committee, Georgy Katulin, and the NOC Vice-President.
Patrick Hickey said that on 7 September representatives of the European Olympic Committees went to see sports facilities in Minsk, in particular, Minsk-Arena. This visit made a big impression on them. “We were amazed at the conditions which have been created for athletes in the country, great architectural design and beautiful finish of these facilities,” said the president of the EOC.
According to him, much is done in Belarus for children and young people. The foreign guests made sure of after a visit to the Belarusian State University of Physical Education.
According to Patrick Hickey, Belarus makes a big contribution to the international Olympic movement, for which he expressed his special thanks to Alexander Lukashenko.
The high guest also thanked the President for invitation to stage the European Games in Belarus. The viability of the games initiated by the European Olympic Committees in 2015 is being currently discussed. According to Patrick Hickey, taking into account Belarus’ well-developed sports infrastructure, the country is capable of hosting the competitions of such high level.
Alexander Lukashenko noted that Belarus pays great attention to sport. “Sport is sometimes the best diplomacy; and not infrequently even more than that,” the President stressed. It is good for the country’s image when its athletes step up on the podium and receive medals.
The meeting participants agreed that all necessary conditions had been created in Belarus to train elite athletes. Member of the Executive Committee of the European Olympic Committee, President of the National Olympic Committee of Great Britain Colin Moynihan thanked the President of Belarus for hospitality and said that London is waiting for Belarusian athletes at the Summer Olympics. He expressed confidence that Belarusian sportsmen would perform to the top of their abilities at the games.
Alexander Lukashenko stressed that Belarus will send a representative delegation for the 2012 Olympics in the United Kingdom.
On behalf of the European Olympic Committees, Patrick Hickey presented Alexander Lukashenko with a memorable souvenir.