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Sport minister: Competition grows stronger with every Olympic Games

Sergei Kovalchuk. An archive photo

MINSK, 28 September (BelTA) – Competition in world sports has been continuously growing stronger, Belarusian Sport and Tourism Minister Sergei Kovalchuk said he spoke at the joint meeting of the National Olympic Committee and the Sport and Tourism Ministry of Belarus held to sum up the Team Belarus performance at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, BelTA learned from the press service of the NOC of Belarus.

“Today we are summing up the results of the performance of Team Belarus at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Belarusian athletes competed against rivals of a very high class. The competition grows stronger with each Games. There is the opinion that Belarus’ results in Tokyo could and should be higher. I agree that many athletes have not fully realized their potential. We expected more from tennis, rowing and canoe, cycling, gymnastics, judo, weightlifting. Relevant assessments have been given and conclusions have been made,” Sergei Kovalchuk said.

He also lauded the achievements of the Paralympians but noted that five gold awards were won by only one athlete, and that Paralympic sport should not rest on laurels in any case.

Sergei Kovalchuk also called the main reason for many failures in sports. “Discipline should be at the heart of any training process, in all sports. The centers of Olympic training, sports schools need to keep this in mind. We have a good example of discipline in trampoline, rhythmic gymnastics, canoe sprint teams. We need to pay more attention to the patriotic education of young people: the anthem, flag, emblem should not be an empty sound. The state has done a lot to develop the sports infrastructure, which in many respects meets the necessary international standards, and athletes should appreciate this,” he said.

The minister also spoke about the scientific, methodological and medical support. “This year we need to complete developing training programs for sports and selection criteria for schools of Olympic reserve. Next year, each federation in all sports should have all methodological literature on the training of top-level athletes developed. There is not much time left before Paris, and the main thing is to stick to the plans and comply with discipline,” Sergei Kovalchuk noted.

Chief of the mission at the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo Dmitry Dovgalenok noted that the living conditions and training met all the criteria but urged a more responsible approach to the organization of training process for each Olympics. “As the minister noted, discipline is one of the major problems. This applies not only to athletes, but also to federations as they organize a training process ahead of important competitions. The Belarusian delegation was able to address transportation issue before going to Japan. Thanks to our Turkish partners we avoided many problems. Another important requirement for the participation in the Games was the observance of anti-COVID rules. They were very strict. The administrative team also worked closely on all the issues which emerged and I would say that we had no serious problems. Unfortunately, I have to pay attention to some kind of unprofessionalism in regard to the work of the national teams.

Having drawn conclusions and outlined the prospects for the future, I would like to emphasize that we must monitor the activities of the national teams, the activities of sports specialists more closely and do our utmost to achieve the set goals,” said Dmitry Dovgalenok.

The system of individual support which included mandatory and unscheduled medical examinations of athletes, scientific testing and analysis of athletes’ achievements was part of the preparations for and the participation in the Tokyo Games, said Irina Malyovanaya, Director of the National Research Sports Center. “Medical support was provided by more than 60 physicians of the national teams, about 20 medical curators of the center. The Olympic Village in Tokyo featured four units: medical and trauma rooms, laboratories, and a physiotherapy room. During the Games our athletes addressed for medical aid more than a thousand times. I want to point out that everybody worked well. We did not have serious health problems during the Olympics, and we even had no COVID-19 cases there,” said Irina Malyovanaya.

The meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Petrishenko, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Igor Lutsky, NOC President Viktor Lukashenko, Sports and Tourism Minister Sergei Kovalchuk, representatives of the Paralympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus, deputy chairpersons of oblast executive committees and the Minsk City Executive Hall.

The participants of the joint session of the NOC of Belarus and the Sports and Tourism Ministry expressed the necessity to set up a working group of representatives of sports federations (unions, associations) and executive authorities to introduce amendments into the basic legal sports acts. The participants also expressed confidence that the goals set before the Olympics in Paris would be fulfilled, and that the Belarusian athletes would try their best to significantly improve their rankings following the 2024 Games.


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