(ATR) Krakow and the Malopolska region of Poland have been chosen by leaders of the European Olympic Committees to host the third edition of the European Games in 2023.
European Olympic Commitee leaders raise their hands in approval of Krakow for 2023. (ATR)
The decision was officially taken by a unanimous show of hands at the EOC Extraordinary General Assembly in Minsk, Belarus less than 12 hours after the second European Games were declared open.
Polish National Olympic Committee president Andrzej Kraśnicki was overjoyed by the strong approval and overwhelming support of his European peers.
“For me, it is a fantastic moment and I am very happy that we are able to promote Krakow and the region of Malopolska, generally Poland, where sport is fantastic,” Kraśnicki tells Around the Rings
shortly after the decision was made.
“For us, it is important that the sport level and facilities in the region are very high and Krakow and Malopolska are very famous for tourists, not only in Europe.
Polish NOC president Andrzej Kraśnicki is congratulated by Russian NOC president Stanislav Pozdnyakov in Minsk. (ATR)
“I think it will be a big success for Poland, the city and the region,” Kraśnicki said.
Poland was the only candidate declaring its letter of interest backed by guarantees of the Polish state.
European Olympic Committee president Janez Kocijančič said he is “very satisfied that our Polish friends decided to be a candidate” and Krakow stood out as the best choice, noting that other cities and interested candidates were consulted in the process.
“We wanted to go with the European Games to different parts of Europe,” Kocijančič said. “Poland is the right choice for the time-being, not only because they are the only candidate, we spoke with several cities, but because they are in the heart of Europe.
Krakow and the region of Malopolska is the historical center of the Polish state – it was the capital city.
“Geographically, it is the middle of Europe with a very rich sports tradition,” he added.
Kocijančič said the decision is in accordance with the principles of Olympic Agenda 2020.
“They will enter this project with a lot of infrastructure,” the Slovenian sports leader said. “We don’t want to go around and give a terrible investment burden to the organizers.
“We would like to use the existing facilities and in Krakow, in Zakopane for instance, there are a lot of sports infrastructure so we will have a very strong program of the next European Games.”
Austrian NOC secretary general Peter Mennel expressed his support for the approval of the Polish to continue the European Games legacy.
“Krakow is a very beautiful city and I’m happy that Poland will continue with the European Games,” Mennel said. “Hopefully we’ll have good sports and big interest of the TV stations. It will depend upon how things go here in Minsk, but I am convinced it will work very well and we will improve.”
Kocijančič said he expects the Krakow program to include core sports, possibly European Championships and “very strong qualifications” for Paris 2024. The Slovenian EOC leader said that it's premature to speculate as to which sports and disciplines Polish organizers might put forward.
“We intend to discuss with our Polish friends the program over the next few months,” Kocijančič said.
Kocijančič said the European Games brand, with qualifications for the Olympic Games, will continue to get stronger.
“We are going to defend our position as a leading continent in international sport,” Kocijančič said.
The European Games in Minsk continue on Saturday with athletes competing in 10 of 15 sports and medals at stake in road cycling, archery, rhythmic and artistic gymnastics, judo, sambo and shooting.
Written and reported by Brian Pinelli in Minsk, Belarus
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