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    APRIL 29 2019

    Karate experts shared the details of their preparation for the 2nd European Games and their expectations from the multi-sport event at a press conference in the Belarus Segodnya publishing house.

    There are slightly more than 50 days left until the 2nd European Games and the national team in karate is preparing diligently for the competition. In addition to the home Games, this is a pre-Olympic season for the team since karate will feature at the Olympic Games for the first time at Tokyo 2020.

    Dmitry Burinsky, Secretary General of the Belarusian Karate Federation:

    "About 15,000 people train in karate in Belarus. Thanks to the 2nd European Games, we can show that our country is ready to host competitions of the highest level. We would like to hold Premier League competitions in Belarus in the future."

    As the ticket sales show, karate is quite popular in the country. According to Dmitry Burinsky, half of the tickets have already been sold and this is with two months to go to the competitions. Demand for karate has even exceeded judo so there is great pressure on the national team to succeed.

    The team is currently training at the Olympic centre in Stayki, and the athletes will next travel to Istanbul to test themselves at Seria A competitions ahead of the 2nd European Games.

    The head coach of the national team, Anatoly Kuryanovich, believes that some of the team members could win medals.

    "Winning athletes from Europe will take part in the karate competitions, but our karatists are also ready for the fight and we are expecting the best possible result from each one. There are athletes in each weight category who can win medals."

    Maria Kulinkovich, Maria Alekseeva, and Anton Isakov are all well established in the world rankings, and are the medal favourites on the team.

    This season is the first pre-Olympic season for athletes who practice karate. Thus, their qualification to the 2020 Olympic Games also depends on how they perform at the 2nd European Games.

    The host nation's team was formed based on the world rankings. Anton Isakov was chosen among the 12 lucky team members.

    "There are a lot of strong athletes in my weight category. The athletes from France, Turkey, Italy and Spain have prepared well. Belarus in also high up in the European rankings — I think this is because we fight to the end. The home arena adds confidence because here we get support from the country, our family and friends. But the responsibility on us is huge too."

    Oleg Kuchmasov, the venue manager of Chizhovka Arena where the karate competitions will be held, spoke about the venue's readiness for the Games:

    "There will be a large competition and small (warm-up) arena. As of May 1, preparations will begin on the large arena, including dismantling the fence and some structures. At the beginning of June this work will be completed, and then the workers will start on the small arena. We will ensure a top level of press operations - there will be a press center, conference room, tribunes for the writing press, photo zone, and space where you can grab interviews right after the bouts."

    Based on materials from the 2nd European Games' media partner, Belarus Segodnya Publishing House

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    These press releases appear as sent to Around the Rings and are not edited for spelling, grammar or punctuation. 

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