Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko presented state awards to the winners and medalists of the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games in PyeongChang.
“There are truly courageous people in this hall today. During the winter games we witnessed fierce battles not only at competition venues but also in judges’ panels and even in interstate relations,” the head of state said.
Alexander Lukashenko remarked that, perhaps, Olympic gold medals in the women’s relay were surprising for some people, but not for Belarusian fans. “Our girls were amazing,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
The President also mentioned the victories of biathlete Darya Domracheva in World Cup races after the Olympic Games. “As a person who like all our athletes, I should tell you that those were special victories. It seemed to me that you had not had such victories in your career before. They were different from other victories. In one race you demonstrated, as people say, the character of a beast,” he said. “The last mass start of the season was a brilliant race too.”
“This is an example of perseverance and a good lesson for coaches. Just imagine if Domracheva had been in this shape at the Olympics. Probably, the Belarusian team would have won all medals. This is the lesson we must learn,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The head of state expressed special gratitude to Belarusian Paralympians. “You were really great! I have watched all your races. I was rooting for you with the same passion as for our Olympians,” he said.
“I really wanted to meet with you and to present these deserved awards. Thank you for your contribution to the development of sport and glorifying our state,” the President noted.
Orders and medals were presented in recognition of great professionalism, outstanding sports achievements, and a big personal contribution to the successful performance of Belarusian national teams.
The Order of Fatherland 3rd Class and the Honored Master of Sport of Belarus title were conferred on three-time Paralympic champion and bronze medalist of the 2018 Paralympic Games Svetlana Sakhonenko.
Four-time Olympic champion, many-time Olympic medalist, Hero of Belarus Darya Domracheva received the Order for Personal Courage.
The same awards and the Honored Master of Sport of Belarus titles were bestowed upon Olympic champions Dinara Alimbekova, Irina Krivko and Nadezhda Skardino.
The Order of Honor and the Honored Master of Sport of Belarus title were conferred on Paralympic champion and three-time medalist of the 2018 Paralympic Games Yuri Golub.
The Medals for Labor Merits were presented to two-time Paralympic bronze medalist Lidiya Grafeyeva and Secretary General of the Belarusian Paralympic Committee Nikolai Shudeiko.
The Honored Coach of Belarus title was conferred on adaptive skiing coach of the Mogilev Oblast Olympic Reserve Center Nikolai Shablovsky.
Two-time Paralympic medalist Dmitry Loban received the Honored Master of Sport of Belarus title.
A number of sports functionaries received letters of commendation from the Belarusian President for the training of elite athletes and a contribution to the successful performance of the Paralympic team. These include Chairman of the Belarusian Paralympic Committee Oleg Shepel, guides of Paralympic medalists Dmitry Budilovich and Roman Yashchenko, coaches Vasily Gavrukovich, Inessa Kozlova, Mikhail Lebedev, and doctor Irina Kuzmina.
There was also an excursion at the Palace of the Independence for the participants of the meeting.