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Minsk 2019 to adopt Agenda 2020 as European Games contract signed

Organisers of the 2019 European Games in Minsk have pledged that the Belarussian capital’s staging of the multi-sport event will meet Olympic Agenda 2020 criteria following the signing of the Games’ host city contract.

The Games will adhere to Olympic Agenda 2020 principles by only using existing facilities to make the event as cost-effective and sustainable as possible.

Olympic Agenda 2020 is the International Olympic Committee’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, and urges host cities and countries to use existing venues when staging major events as opposed to building new ones.

The European Olympic Committees (EOC) selected Minsk as the host of the second edition of its European Games in October 2016 and the host city contract was signed on Friday.

The contract was signed by acting EOC president Janez Kocijančič, along with Minsk Mayor Anrei Shorats, Belarus Olympic Committee first vice-president Andrei Astashevich, Sports Minister Aleksandr Shamko, and Minsk European Games Organising Committee (MEGOC) chief executive George Katulin.

Kocijančič said: “Belarus has a long and illustrious history in organising major international sporting events. I am certain that the Minsk 2019 European Games will be another example of their outstanding ability as a host nation, where we will see a highly sustainable and spectacular event. I would like to thank Mayor Shorats for his warm hospitality and very much look forward to working with him, Mr Astashevich, Mr Shamko, Mr Katulin and the rest of the hard-working team in Belarus in the months to come.

“Today is a very important milestone, but we must continue to work hard to ensure we deliver the exceptional product we believe the European Games can be. It is vital to the EOC that the Games reflect the recommendations laid out in Agenda 2020 and we believe the 2019 Games in Minsk will provide an excellent blueprint for years to come.”

The inaugural Games were held in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2015. The 2019 event was originally due to take place in the Netherlands but the country withdrew hosting rights in 2015 amid financial concerns. Russia was then earmarked to assume hosting rights, but reportedly declined an offer to stage the event.

The 2019 Games will be contested by 4,000 athletes, with over 180 medals to be won. The event will run from June 21-30.

Preparations for Minsk 2019 will be overseen by a specially appointed EOC Coordination Commission, which will be led by EOC executive committee member Spyros Capralos, who is also head of the Greek Olympic Committee. The commission will make its first site visit to Minsk on September 21-22.