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  • Minsk 2019 Excited to Welcome European Guests


    (ATR) Minsk European Games organizing committee (MEGOC) chief executive officer George Katulin says that the Belarusian capital will impress athletes and visitors as a friendly and hospitable host city for the second European Games.
    Minsk 2019 CEO George Katulin and EOC senior sports consultant Makis Asimakopoulos (Minsk 2019)

    “Everyone will have their personal impression, but the common thing they will see visiting our capital is the friendly, human environment,” Katulin said responding to a question from Around the Rings.

    Katulin addressed European National Olympic Committee press officers and journalists following a two-day meeting with Minsk 2019 organizers covering a wide range of topics.

    “The friendly people outside, the green wild space, a well organized city, a lot of sport facilities and lot of youngsters on the street,” said Katulin, mentioning the positive attributes that European athletes, officials and visitors will witness in Minsk from July 21-30, 2019.

    Katulin, who is also the secretary general of the Belarusian National Olympic Committee and chairman of the national karate federation, said the city’s youth will benefit from, and play an integral part in, successfully delivering the Games.

    “We are one of the European countries that have a huge number of students, around 50 universities and institutes,” the Minsk 2019 CEO said. “What is really important – why did we organize these Games? Because this is a way for these youngsters to be part of common Europe and to achieve the common goals.”

    “We have already more than 8,000 applications for the volunteer program, which means a huge army of the young motivated people working together.

    “Finally, the Games will give an impression about of our beautiful and peaceful country.”

    Belarus declared its national sovereignty on July 27, 1990, a key step toward independence from the former Soviet Union. The Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic was formally renamed the Republic of Belarus in August 1991 and full independence was established in December 8, 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

    The current president Alexander Lukashenko has held office since the first presidential elections in 1994. In 2010, he was re-elected once again in presidential elections that were described as flawed by most European Union countries and institutions.

    “I can say many things about the history of the country, but what I advise to everyone who visits, just imagine that this country was totally destroyed during the Second World War,” Katulin said.

    “But we rise up from the ruins and now you can see what we have achieved.”

    I-Zone For Athlete Interviews

    European NOC press officers & journalists at Dinamo Stadium (Minsk 2019)
    Relaxed, informal and friendly, the I-Zone interview area will be implemented at the Minsk 2019 European Games to replace the standard press conferences and mixed zone procedures.

    The concept was first used at the inaugural European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2015. Media conduct interviews with medalists and athletes while sitting on couches in a laid-back environment.

    “We decided to follow this practice using the I-Zone because we consider it to be much more comfortable for the athletes and journalists,” said Minsk 2019 press secretary Evgenia Nikitina. “If I was a journalist, I’d prefer the I-Zone. The atmosphere is more informal and it provides the opportunity to get some unique materials."

    One of the benefits of the I-Zone to journalists as well as NOC press officers is that shooting video interviews for website and social media use is permitted, a practice forbidden in traditional mixed zones.

    “You can make videos and this is important because there are restrictions in the venues,” said Slovakia NOC press chief Lubomir Soucek. “For example, the NOCs are obliged to produce some videos and content and this is a way to do that easily.”

    Main Press Center Location Uncertain

    Minsk's Dinamo Stadium was re-opened on June 21 (Minsk 2019)
    A decision on the final location of a Main Press Center is yet to be determined with 11 months to go until the opening of the European Games.

    Currently, the MPC is expected to share space with the IBC at the Football Manege, a multi-sport indoor arena. However, there is also talk of moving the MPC to the grounds of Dinamo Stadium, the venue for ceremonies and athletics.

    According to Minsk 2019 organizers, a final determination on the MPC is expected soon.

    All venues aside from part of the Olympic Sports Complex, which will host beach soccer, and the shooting center are either pre-existing or have been completed.

    Katulin assured that both will be ready in time, adding that the beach soccer venue will be completed for a qualifying event in early August.

    Minsk 2019 Tickets

    Tickets for the European Games will go on sale on December 1, 2018.

    “Our goal is to ensure full stadia through an effective, service-oriented ticketing program,” said Minsk 2019 head of marketing Maxim Koshkalda. “This means one that will provide fans in Belarus and abroad with equal opportunities to obtain tickets of all price ranges for the 2nd European Games Minsk 2019.”

    Sales will be conducted by MEGOC [] within Belarus through official resellers from December 1, 2018 until February 28, 2019. Worldwide ticket sales will begin in March 2019.

    Written and reported by Brian Pinelli in Minsk.

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