MOSCOW, January 22. /TASS/. The 2021 Modern Pentathlon World Championship UIPM Pentathlon and Laser Run World Championships, which was scheduled to be hosted by the Belarusian capital of Minsk this summer, will be relocated to another venue, the press service of the International Union of Modern Pentathlon (UIPM) said in a statement on Friday.
Minsk was scheduled to host the championship, which had the status of the Olympic qualifying tournament for the Olympics in Japan, between June 7 and 13.
“The Executive Board (EB) of the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) has voted to postpone the UIPM Pentathlon and Laser Run World Championships in Minsk, Belarus scheduled to take place in June 2021,” the statement reads.
“The flagship competition of the 2021 season, which will be the final qualification event for the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, will now 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 press service.
Commenting on the Executive Board’s decision, UIPM President Klaus Schormann said: “The EB reviewed the situation this week and, first of all, declared its complete confidence in the Local Organizing Committee being able to stage a competition of the highest quality in the wonderful city of Minsk when the time is right.”
“After a detailed discussion, the EB 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 jeopardize the success of UIPM’s flagship competition,” he continued.
“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,” UIPM president added.
Earlier this week, Belarus also lost its right to host matches of the 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship.
The IIHF (the International Ice Hockey Federation) Council announced on Monday a decision to strip the Belarusian capital of Minsk of the right to host matches of the 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship and to relocate them to another venue. The IIHF said in a statement that it made this decision “Due to safety and security issues that are beyond the IIHF’s control.”
Matches of the 2021 IIHF World Championship in the Latvian capital of Riga and the Belarusian capital of Minsk were scheduled to be played between May 21 and June 6, 2021. However, various European public organizations called on the IIHF to relocate championship’s matches from Minsk due to a tense political situation in Belarus. Tournament’s sponsors also threatened to leave in case Belarus hosted the championship.
Nationwide demonstrations have engulfed Belarus following the August 9, 2020 presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot.
However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania. After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police.