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Belarus president emphasizes sport as state policy priority

It is important to develop sport as a priority of the state policy. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made the statement during the government conference held on 13 April to discuss the development of winter sports, BelTA has learned.

Alexander Lukashenko stressed: “Huge attention is paid to sport in our country. Sport development is always closely monitored. Sport stands for not only a healthy nation. Sport represents a huge part of our ideology work. In other words, sport is a state policy priority. Victories of Belarusian athletes shape the image of the state and encourage patriotism.” Alexander Lukashenko noted that the necessary infrastructure for going in for sports and pursuing high-performance sport careers had been created in Belarus.

There are ice arenas and tracks in every region. The tracks are used for skiing races in winter and roller skiing in summer. Instructions have been given to build all-season facilities for skiing training sessions in Raubichi and Minsk in order to allow training on snow through the year. “The state spends heavily on preparing the national teams for major international competitions. Some $10.5 million has been spent on winter sports over the course of four years,” pointed out the head of state.

“Yet Belarus won only three medals during the Winter Olympics in Korea. It means there are serious problems in the work of the entire sport industry.” The president remarked that the country recognizes accomplishments of freestyle skiing and biathlon champions, however, not all the Belarusian athletes had produced the desired results. “Olympic Games are the most important competition in a four-year period or maybe in the entire life for any athlete.

Every athlete has to do one's utmost during Olympic Games because they know that the entire country roots for them,” said the head of state. “Actually, athletes should not participate in Olympic Games, world championships, and continental championships if they intend to only perform ‘well' as some Belarusian sport functionaries like to put it for mass media consumption. Athletes should go to such competitions in order to win medals.” Alexander Lukashenko stressed that it is necessary to review the development of winter sports in Belarus. He drew attention to the state of affairs in various winter sports and raised specific questions before participants of the government conference. “A great deal has been said about today's event. A lot of opinions, points of view. Certain preparatory work has been done. I would like to primarily hear what the government, the Sports and Tourism Ministry, and sport federations have done as part of this preparatory work.

I would like to learn whether instructions to structure the sport industry have been fulfilled and what schemes are used to manage sport in Belarus,” said Alexander Lukashenko. “I would very much like the presenters to tell us how instructions to select and hire coaches have been fulfilled, whether we have people to choose future athletes from, how coaching is financed, first and foremost, salaries. I would like to hear every detail,” added the head of state.

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Starye Dorogi Regional Executive Committee, 2008
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