Pentathlon up next: Another high-profile sports event moved from Minsk due to ‘instability’


Belarus was deprived of the right to host the UIPM Pentathlon and Laser Run World Championships due to ‘instability’, the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) said on Friday.

“After a detailed discussion, the Executive Board voted to move the UIPM Pentathlon and Laser Run World Championships in Minsk to a future date because of a growing concern that the present instability in the host nation could jeopardise the success of UIPM’s flagship competition. There was a particular concern that numerous competing nations would be reluctant to travel to Belarus at this time, and EB members wanted to protect the fairness of the competition and the Olympic qualification process without adding pressure to the already difficult circumstances of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic,” the statement reads.

The 2021 competition is to ‘take place in an alternative venue on the same dates (June 7-13), with an announcement due to be made in the coming days’.

According to the UIPM officials, the sanctions imposed by the International Olympic Committee on the National Olympic Committee of Belarus were also taken into account.

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On January 18, the International Ice Hockey Federation announced its decision to move the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship from the Belarusian capital city, stressing that such step was ‘unavoidable’ due ‘to safety and security issues’. The championship was expected to take place in Minsk and Riga which had won the right to host the corresponding event in the year of 2021. However, due to the rigged elections and the brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters, a large international movement to strip Belarus of this right gained pace.

In late December, a number of Western media reported that the 2021 World Ice Hockey Championship would definitely not be held in Belarus due to the current political situation. Later, Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin, vice-president of the IIHF Kalervo Kummola, head of the Danish Hockey Union Ulrik Larsen, as well as members of the U.S. Congress and the German Bundestag called for a boycott or postponement of the World Cup. A number of companies, including Nivea and Škoda, refused to participate in financing the World Cup if it took place in Belarus.

In October, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) reopened the bid for the 2022 Chess Olympiad; earlier, the event had been scheduled to be held in Minsk.

Belarus not to host 2022 Chess Olympiad