See-off ceremony for Team Belarus to Rio Olympic Games
The Olympics is no longer about personal sporting achievements only. It is big politics and also a great honor for the country, Belarus President, Head of the National Olympic Committee Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the see-off ceremony for Team Belarus to the 31st Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
remember, your achievements forge the positive image of Belarus and are an
indicator of the country’s successful development,” the head of state said.
“For Belarusian athletes, the Games will be the most important test of the last four years. Our state has done everything necessary for you to have an opportunity to train smoothly and make a decent showing in these competitions,” the Belarusian leader noted.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the price of an Olympic medal has always been high, and today it is even more so. “You see how the competition has toughened. Unsportsmanlike methods of pressure are often used with regard to individual athletes and entire countries. Scandals, headline-grabbing cases, review of the results of the past tournaments do not longer surprise anyone. You see all this yourselves, and I'm sure that you are worried about this. Rio will be tough but I am sure you will handle this tremendous stress and show good results”.
The head of state noted that not only relatives, but also the whole country will be rooting for athletes. “You, like no one else, feel how important your victories are for all Belarusians,” he said.
This time the country has not set any medal targets. However, Belarus can expect from each of you full concentration and performance at the limit of human abilities, the President noted. “We are all waiting for your victories. Our team is a natural blend of youth and experience. For some, this is the first Olympics. But many have competed in major tournaments in the last four years,” the Belarusian leader said.
The head of state expressed special gratitude to the Belarusian basketball women’s team thanks to whom Belarus will be again represented in the game team sports at the Olympics 2016. “I think that our men should look up to our girls,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
“We will be looking forward to the victories of Belarusian athletes. You will enjoy the sea of love and attention from our grateful fans. It is equally important that every success will be appreciated by the state. I will be very happy if the upcoming Olympic Games give us a new reason to gather together and savor our successes and honor everyone who will make contribution to the Olympic glory of the country,” the Belarusian leader said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko presented the national flag of the Republic of Belarus to Olympic Canoeing Champion Alexander Bogdanovich, the captain of Belarus’ Rio 2016 team. He, for his part, handed over the flag to Sergei Martynov, the flag bearer of the Belarusian delegation, and swore the oath of Belarusian athletes participating in the Olympic Games.
Melitina Staniouta and Yekaterina Galkina, members of Belarus national rhythmic gymnastics team, gave the head of state a commemorative gift – a set of badges with the icons of the sports in which Belarusian athletes won Olympic licenses.
Aleksandr Lukashenko awarded Order of Honor to Max Mirnyi, athlete-instructor of Belarus’ national tennis team, for his great personal contribution to the development of the sport and successful performance at the Olympic Games in London in 2012.
In conclusion, the athletes had a photo-op with the President on the stairs in front of the main entrance to the Palace of Independence.