Dinamo Stadium reopens a year ahead of Minsk 2019 European Games
The refurbished Dinamo Stadium in Minsk was reopened yesterday to mark a year to go until the venue will host the athletics events at the second edition of the European Games in the Belarusian capital.
Renovation of the multi-purpose facility started before Minsk was awarded the European Games and took six years to complete. The stadium was today slated to host a track and field competition which will serve as a test event for Minsk 2019, featuring teams from Belarus, Ukraine and Baltic and Balkan countries.
A Minsk 2019 countdown clock, located outside the Sports Palace, another official venue for the European Games, was also activated, while the organising committee launched a new website at http://minsk2019.by/en.
A total of 4,082 athletes from all 50 European national Olympic committees are set to compete in 15 sports in Minsk - 3x3 basketball, archery, athletics, badminton, beach soccer, beach volleyball, boxing, canoe sprint, cycling, judo, karate, sambo, shooting, table tennis and wrestling. Ten of the 15 sports will act as qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, with the European Games also counting as the official European championships for four sports.
Organisers said that all 12 sporting venues, of which 11 are existing facilities, will be located a maximum of 30 minutes’ drive from the athletes’ village, ensuring that athletes can easily travel to training and competition facilities.
Simon Clegg, the European Games executive director, said: “Tonight’s fantastic opening of the refurbished Dinamo Stadium marks an important milestone in the countdown to next year’s European Games. In exactly 365 days, the finest European athletes from 15 sports will be assembled here for the Opening Ceremony prior to competing for European Games’ glory and, in many instances, the opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
Last month, Clegg, newly installed in the post, said that he was encouraged by the progress Minsk is making in hosting the games, following his first official visit to the city.
Clegg served briefly in the same role for the European Olympic Committees five years ago before relocating to Azerbaijan to be chief operating officer of the local organising committee for the inaugural Baku 2015 European Games.
He said: “After visiting every competition and training venue I am confident that Belarus has the necessary sporting infrastructure and personnel to deliver an excellent European Games next year.
“The venues look very impressive indeed, many having been built for the 2014 World Ice Hockey Championships, providing excellent spectator capacities and adjacent training facilities. Renovations on the few facilities requiring it are well advanced and I’m confident that the field of play will be excellent for the athletes and provide a great broadcasting backdrop.”
Clegg is to visit Minsk regularly in the lead-up to the games, which will take place from 21 to 30 June, 2019.
Since Baku 2015, Clegg had been working in Dubai as the chief operating officer of Expo 2020, the world trade fair.