(ATR) The Flame of Peace is on the march in Belarus. The symbol of the 2019 European Games crossed the border from Poland into the host nation May 12.
Olympian Yulia Nestsiarenka with the flame for the Minsk 2019 European Games. (Getty Images)
The flame was lit in Rome May 3 and has since traveled through central Europe, including a stop at Mont Blanc in France.
The Brest Hero Fortress Memorial was the setting for the arrival of the flame in the southwest corner of Belarus.
“We are welcoming it in Brest, the symbolic gate of our Motherland. A long way to the Victory in the Great Patriotic War began from the walls of the Brest Fortress. The Flame of Peace relay will also start its way from here today,” proclaimed Igor Petrishenko at the ceremony, reports BelTA
“On 9 May, thousands of Brest residents and guests marked Victory Day at this sacred place. Today, Brest is welcoming the flame which symbolizes peace and creation, not war and destruction. This is a special honor for the city which is marking its 1,000th birthday this year,” Brest Mayor Aleksandr Rogachuk is quoted by the Belarussian news agency
The torch relay in Brest was launched by the 100m women's gold medalist from the 2004 Olympics, Yulia Nestsiarenka. The sprinter handed the flame to her coach Viktor Yaroshevich.
The relay will travel through five cities in the Brest oblast carried by 60 runners. All six oblasts in Belarus will stage legs of the relay leading up to the June 21 lighting in Minsk.
Athletics Test Event
Junior athletes from across Belarus will compete in a May 14 test event for the debut of athletics at the European Games. Excluded from the inaugural European Games in Baku four years ago, athletics will test a new format for the sport in Minsk.
Known as DNA, Dynamic New Athletics, the new format includes a reduced number of events and mixed teams competing for the final medals of the European Games.
The European Athletic Association has approved nine events in the competition. Teams from 24 nations are expected with a field of about 500 athletes.
The test event at the Dinamo Stadium will provide a trial of the Hunt Mixed-Distance Pursuit Relay. The format is said to be similar to the way the Nordic Combined ski race is run.
“I am confident that this method will be to the liking of participants and fans. At the forthcoming competitions at the Dinamo Stadium we will test the point counting system and the stopwatch electronic system,” says Vadim Nigmatov from European Athletics.
The European Games run June 21 to 29. The event is the peak activity of the continental association European Olympic Committees. Teams from 50 nations are expected to compete in 18 sports.
Reported by Ed Hula.
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