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9 July 2021

Lukashenko: Sporting achievements are more than a personal triumph

MINSK, 9 July (BelTA) – Sporting achievements are highly important not only for athletes themselves, but also for the state, including in the political sense, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at a solemn farewell ceremony for Belarusian athletes on the way to the Tokyo Olympic Games on 9 July, BelTA has learned. 

“We all - athletes, fans - have been looking forward to these games for a long time. I strongly believe that the delay of the games, accumulated energy, developments in the country and the world will make the forthcoming medal battles tough as never before. I want to tell you that your sporting achievements are not only a personal triumph. Today they are akin to other kinds of victories, up to political ones,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.

“Your successes should become a response to those people who first took everything they could from the country, and now wish it and you defeat. A response to those states that are strangling or trying to strangle us with sanctions. Expectations are very high. Of course, you understand it. But this burden is no heavier than the challenges you have already overcome. I know in detail what you have had to go through. But you stood your ground. The main and decisive step remains, ” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The head of state also mentioned provocations, bullying, psychological pressure, threats. “You have faced it all. You took these attacks like true athletes, showing patience, will and courage. You still need these qualities now in order to defend the honor of our Belarus in sporting arenas in Tokyo. You know that your rivals will be incredibly strong. Restrictions related to public health and increased control by various structures will also create certain difficulties. Pressure with political overtones is not excluded either,” the president said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that the motto ‘Sport and politics do not mix” is long gone: “Forgotten since 1980. But we still remember the far-fetched reasons the collective West used to launch an aggressive hate campaign against the Soviet Union. Not so many years have passed - a little over 40 - since the start of the Summer Olympic Games in Moscow.”

“But we believe that obstacles will only add to your determination to win. You are Belarusians. We have inherited the ability to overcome difficulties and win. It has always been like that. This can be confirmed by our Olympic champions and medalists, sports veterans who came here to support you,” the president said.
 
“You are one team. Next to you, there are wise, professional and very attentive coaches. Keep leaning on each other for support. Believe me, these moments (months and years pass by very quickly) will stay in your memory. You are the ones  who will shape these moments. You should know that millions of fans in Belarus, being thousands of kilometers away, will support you every second on and off the arena. You will become household names in every home. And I am sure that your names will be mentioned with joy and great pride. Remember that people are waiting for the national flag of Belarus to fly in the sky over Tokyo,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The president wished the Belarusian Olympians good luck and told them not to be nervous during competitions. “Do it like you do it during training routines and you will succeed. But remember: we will not just root for you, we will be emotionally involved and we will wish you victory every minute, second, on every meter, in particular me,” he said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko presented the State Flag of the Republic of Belarus to the captain of Belarus’ Olympic Team Ivan Tsikhan in a solemn atmosphere.