Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko presented state awards to Belarusian weightlifters and their coaches. The ceremony took place at the Palace of Independence on 23 April.
Aleksandr Lukashenko congratulated the national team on the successful performance at the 2019 EWF European Weightlifting Championships in Batumi. Belarusian weightlifters clinched 19 medals, including eight medals in the combined total, and the second place in the team standings.
The head of state said that he does not watch weightlifting competitions very often due to the busy schedule and the lack of time. However, he was watching the recent European championships in Batumi almost entirely. “You did a great job, you won and you were fighting. The main thing is that you were fighting and had very few failures. Coaches also did a great job. They were planning all attempts of our athletes and were aware of the potential of every athlete. I cannot say that a 100% result was shown, but you were very close,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
According to the President, the achievements of weightlifters are especially important against the backdrop of failures in other sports. “Frankly speaking, sport has not given much joy to Belarusians in recent time,” he said. “But weightlifting is a pearl in the necklace of sports which bring glory. This is a great sport.”
According to the head of state, athletes work hard to be a success in weightlifting. “Weightlifting is a very difficult sport, the most difficult sport, it may seem a bit mundane, but you are fighting all the time. For example, completion in team sports is always exciting and dynamic. But when you are one on one with a barbell… You have to do it every day. Weightlifting is a very difficult sport,” the President said. He tried weightlifting the past and stopped. “Frankly speaking, it is not my sport,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
However, the President is watching competitions as a fan and as a sports manager who is evaluating the efficiency of the sports industry. “I enjoyed watching the European championships. It was amazing. But the bar is very high now. All failures of coaches are the issue of the past now,” the head of state said. In his words, he is very demanding of coaches and sports officials. “Every sport needs attention. I do not conceal that certain administrative resources are necessary as well. We must create conditions. All countries, including Belarus, cannot do without resources,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Speaking about his personal impressions of the European championships, the President mentioned the atmosphere during the awards ceremony and a strong feeling of patriotism radiated by Belarusian athletes when they were standing on the podium. “When they take the flag we feel that they are Belarusian people,” the head of state emphasized. Coaches took all the best from our big country [the Soviet Union] to bring up young Belarusian athletes. We can feel that they are Belarusian people who were born in sovereign and independent Belarus.
Indeed, the national weightlifting team includes only Belarusian citizens, there are no foreign athletes competing for a different state in it. Moreover, there is no need to invite somebody from other countries since there is an efficient system of selection and training in Belarusian weightlifting. Specialists are looking for talented youngsters
In all regions of Belarus and bring up elite athletes. Continuity is also important. More experienced weightlifters share their knowledge with younger athletes.
The Medal for Labor Merits was conferred on chief weightlifting coach of the national Olympic training center Staiki Valery Sizenok in recognition of his professionalism, a big personal contribution to the training of elite athletes, significant sports achievements. Weightlifter Darya Naumova received the Honored Master of Sport of Belarus title. Official letters of commendation from the Belarusian President were awarded to chief coaches Valentin Korotkin and Viktor Shershukov, athletes Gennady Laptev and Yevgeny Tikhontsov for the successful performance at the European Weightlifting Championships.
After the ceremony the President had a conversation with coaches and athletes. They discussed current trends in weightlifting, the development of this sport in the country, future competition plans. Special attention was drawn to the participation of Belarusian athletes in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. “The main thing is to have as many athletes at the Olympics as possible. Please tell me about the current state of affairs,” the President said.
The participants of the meeting also discussed the subjectivity of judging in such sports. It was mentioned that even in such sports as weightlifting where the result seems obvious judges can be subjective and impartial. Therefore, the President called on coaches to protect the interests of all athletes and make sure that all participants of competitions are treated equally and fairly.
Before the ceremony athletes and coaches were taken on an excursion to the Palace of Independence.