Team Ireland gives Minsk high marks during 3rd NOC Open Day

27 March 2019

A delegation from Team Ireland led by Chef de Mission for the European Games Minsk 2019 Tricia Heberle has given the Belarusian capital full marks as preparations for Europe’s premier multi-sport event this June enter their final phase.

During a two-day visit for the 3rd Minsk 2019 National Olympic Committee (NOC) Open Day, the Irish delegation had the opportunity to visit a number of the sports venues where Irish athletes are expected to compete this 21-30 June.

When asked for her thoughts about Minsk, the venues and the readiness of the city to host the 2nd edition of the European Games, Australian native Heberle was very positive. “It was a good opportunity to learn about the European Games and it looks like it will be a very well-organised Games,” Heberle said. “I am a big fan of venues that are built for multi-use and it’s not only a great legacy but it’s good business for sport in Belarus.”

Irish fans are well known for following their sports teams across the world, and it is expected that there will once again be a large contingent of travelling support heading to Minsk in June.

On the issues of transport and security, Heberle added: “With all the venues and the Athletes’ Village located in close proximity, it should make it easy for our whole delegation and the travelling support to really make the most of the experience in Minsk. We saw plenty of shops, cafes and other entertainment possibilities for people to enjoy. We certainly felt secure inside and outside the venues, without feeling overpowered, and we expect a similar experience during the Games.”

Asked about the general feeling among the locals about the Games happening in Minsk this summer, Heberle had the impression that people are excited and proud to be welcoming the whole of Europe to their country.

The Irish delegation will number about 100 people in total, with more than 65 athletes. “There has been great support for these Games by our National Federations, with qualification possibilities for Tokyo 2020, and we expect to have a number of our top Irish athletes travelling to Minsk in June.”

Over 4,000 of Europe’s best athletes will compete in 15 sports at the European Games: 3×3 basketball, archery, athletics, badminton, beach soccer, boxing, canoe sprint, cycling, gymnastics, judo, karate, sambo, shooting, table tennis and wrestling. Eight of the 15 sports will act as qualifiers for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, with the European Games also counting as the official European championships for four sports.