With 100 days to go until The Match Europe v USA Minsk 2019, which will be held in the Belarus capital on 9-10 September, European Athletics can announce that three global stars of the sport will be ambassadors for the event.
World and European champions Ramil Guliyev, Mariya Lasitskene and Ekaterini Stefanidi will help promote the event in their role as ambassadors over the next three months and the trio all had something to say about their involvement.
Russia’s Mariya Lasitskene has been the dominant female high jumper in the world for the last two years. “I am really excited about The Match. I have a perfect record jumping in a Team Europe vest – two competitions, two victories in the IAAF Continental Cup – so I’ll be looking for a hattrick in September. In the last two years I have jumped twice in Minsk indoors so it will be fun to go back there for an outdoor competition.”
Greece’s Ekaterini Stefanidi, who is also the 2016 Olympic champion, added: “I think The Match is a great idea and I think the women’s pole vault could be one of the highlights as I know whoever represents both Europe and the USA will be among the best vaulters in the world. For all of us, it will be the perfect preparation for the World Championships in Doha just a few weeks later.”
Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev has already been in fine form in the 200m and wants to continue to make an impact in the event which has bought him global and continental gold medals in 2017 and 2018. “I’ve talked about the fact that I want to be running under 20 seconds regularly this summer and I’ve done a quick check and no one has ever run under 20 seconds in Belarus so, in addition to getting maximum points for Europe and beating my US rivals, that’s a big target for me.”
The match was the brainchild of European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen, harking back to the days of the famous dual-international matches of the 1960s and 70s
“100 days to go is an important milestone and will focus everyone’s attention on The Match, athletes and fans alike, and I’m sure they will all start putting the meeting in their calendars if they haven’t already,” commented Hansen
“Preparations are well under way, ticket sales are going well, TV production planning is advancing nicely, and I know first hand that the Dinamo National Olympic Stadium is a very worthy venue. I am feeling very confident that this historic competition will also be a spectacular one,” he added.