Hansen praises preparations ahead of Europe v USA match

Svein Arne Hansen in Minsk

European Athletics President lauded the Belarus Athletic Federation for their planning ahead of the Europe v USA match in Minsk on 9-10 September. Photo credit: Belarus Athletic Federation 

European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen is pleased with preparations ahead of the Europe v USA match which will take place in Minsk on 9-10 September.

Speaking at a press conference in the Belarusian capital on Wednesday (9) alongside Belarus Athletic Federation President Vadim Devyatovskiy, European Athletics Council Executive Board Member Toralf Nilsson, Maksim Nedasekau, Elvira Herman and deputy Mayor of Minsk Igor Yurkevich, Hansen lauded the federation for their outstanding preparatory work.  

“The Belarusian Athletic Federation has made a great contribution to the organisation of the match. Minsk will host a historic event for the world of athletics. Minsk has an excellent modern facility, the Dinamo Stadium, which is one of the best in Europe,” said President Hansen.

The newly refurbished Dinamo Stadium reopened last year with the staging of a four-way international match which featured many of Belarus’ leading athletes including Herman and Nedasekau as well as Alina Talay and Tatyana Khaladovich. The stadium has a capacity of just over 22,000 and will also be used for the second edition of the European Games from 21-30 June.

Hansen also gave some initial details about the television coverage for the Europe v USA match. “We signed a contract with Eurovision who will provide signal to ten countries. The U.S. side has not yet announced the TV company which will have the rights to broadcast the event,” he said.

Nilsson, who is the chief coordinator for the match, gave more details: "The match itself is essentially an innovation because it will be a historical event. In each event, each team will be represented by four athletes.

"In this format, intrigue will persist until the last moment because the situation can change dramatically at any time, and the contribution of each of the four athletes is very important. At the annual match between Finland and Sweden there is an element of drama and such suspense is very interesting for the audience."

Both Nedasekau and Herman are enthusiastic about the concept and have said they will gladly compete on home soil again if selected for next September’s event.

“I am really looking forward to the match and I hope that I can take part in this historic event. Recently, my coach told me that in 1973 he participated in the USSR v USA match, won and set a Soviet record. Of course, I want to repeat his feat and compete at such a historic match which will be held for the first time in such a long time,” said Herman, the reigning European 100m hurdles champion.

The match will be the last major fixture on the athletics calendar ahead of the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar from 27 September to 6 October.

The programme consists of all track events for men and women up to and including the 3000m and 3000m steeplechase, along with the 4x100m relay and a mixed medley relay. The two-day event will also feature all of the jumping and throwing events as well.