On 28 April the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus hosted the 2nd National Athletes Forum which brought together over 250 participants.
The forum was opened by President of the NOC of Belarus Viktor Lukashenko and President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Stanislav Pozdnyakov.
In his welcoming speech Viktor Lukashenko noted that he was sincerely happy to see athletes, coaches and functionaries not only from Belarus but also from the Russian Federation in the Olympic Hall of Fame. In his opinion, the National Athletes Forum has gone international.
"Sport and healthy lifestyle continue to be a powerful, unifying force for the nations, a real resource for the development of our countries. Just yesterday the athletes commissions from Belarus and Russia met to discuss the further strategy to develop the Olympic movement of the two countries, the issues that are in the focus of attention not only of athletes but also ordinary people who love sport, who root for our athletes and who are proud of your victories!" said the president of the NOC of Belarus.
Viktor Lukashenko thanked the guests from Russia for cooperation and engagement. "Such an open professional dialogue serves the interests of sport, contributes to mutual respect and trust, while the implementation of the proposals to be worked out at the forum, I am convinced, will help us achieve the large-scale goals which the two Olympic committees are facing. We will share the experience of holding competitions, ranging from small events to the largest international championships," he stressed.
The NOC president noted that the recent events, the difficult atmosphere around international sport and the Olympic movement involuntarily bring us back to the past when many Soviet, American athletes and athletes of other countries were dragged in mutual boycott campaigns, losing the opportunity to write their names in the history of world sport, wasting years of hard work and training."To our great disappointment, history is cyclical, and today many things repeat themselves. Dear athletes! No one will dispute the fact that absolutely everyone present here is interested in the successful, confident development of the Olympic movement and sport in general. You can always count on our support. I hope you will agree that in its sovereign history our state has created the right conditions for you to train, develop and shine at competitions of any level. This policy will be continued," said Viktor Lukashenko.
In his opinion, times of crisis always give a chance to reach new heights and open up new opportunities. "There is only one recipe for success in times of crisis: while others are coming to their senses, we are acting. This is the only way to really adapt to change. Re-adjust, set your mind right and move forward. Under no circumstances should we yield to provocations from different sides, and we must rely only on common sense, our own strength and like-minded people. Let me repeat once again, the NOC of Belarus will continue to defend and protect the interests of all our athletes! As the saying goes: whatever does not kill us makes us stronger," said the NOC president and wished the attendees fruitful and interesting work.
"The international Olympic movement is going through a serious crisis, the principles of Olympism are violated through no fault of athletes," ROC President Stanislav Pozdnyakov said at the opening of the National Athletes Forum in Minsk.
"Now the cooperation between Belarusian and Russian athletes should serve to promote one of the main Olympic principles - building bridges between the nations," he stressed.
Stanislav Pozdnyakov thanked his Belarusian colleagues for the opportunity to meet again with like-minded people and work on further forms of cooperation.
The famous Russian wrestler, three-time Olympic champion Aleksandr Karelin, who also took part in the opening of the forum, noted that Belarusians and Russians will overcome the present difficult times together. They have all opportunities for that, but what matters most is the true fighting spirit and the will to win. “Athletes have to be ready to produce high results, so you must continue to compete and train actively. I wish all others to stay in good shape, to be elegant and fit. I'm sure that we will discuss many issues facing athletes today," Aleksandr Karelin added.
Many famous athletes from Belarus and Russia - Olympic champions Aliaksandr Bahdanovich, Sofia Velikaya, Yuriy Borzakovskiy, Roman Vlasov, Alexander Legkov and other famous sports stars were the guests of honor of the forum.
The event was held in the form of an interactive training seminar-conference with expert discussions. The goal of the forum is to promote socialization of athletes after they retire from sport, to help them acquire new knowledge and skills in promoting personal brand.
Vladimir Voloshin, managing partner of Newman Sport, co-founder of HOT SPORT, IRONSTAR and ROSA RUN, spoke on the modern trends in career building:
Andrei Markov, General Director of the Moi Sport joint-stock company, spoke about the Moi Sport project and strategic approaches to promoting digital technologies in sport;
The deputy chairman of the Belarus Ice Hockey Federation Artem Vasiliev made report on an athlete's personal brand and professional career in social networks.
The 1st edition of the National Athletes Forum was held in Minsk in April 2021. It drew together representatives of various sports industries. Experts from famous Russian marketing companies and the Russian International Olympic University shared their experience in the field of sports marketing.
Press service of the NOC of Belarus
Photos by the NOC of Belarus