Team GB confirmed its selection for the Minsk 2019 European Games today, with 101 athletes across 10 sports selected for the Games, and as with Baku four years previously, female athletes will outnumber male athletes at the Games.
The second iteration of the European Games will be held in the Belarussian capital from 21st – 30th June, with the Opening Ceremony on Friday 21st June.
Over 4,000 athletes from 50 countries will compete across 10 days in 200 different medal events with the Opening and Closing Ceremony being held in Dinamo National Olympic Stadium.
Minsk 2019 represents the last senior multi-sport event prior to next summer’s Olympic Games and will provide invaluable experience for the British athletes hoping to travel to Tokyo as part of Team GB.
The European Games double up as the usual judo European Championships and offers important ranking points for athletes aiming for Olympic qualification. Selected in the GB team are 25 returning Olympians, from the last three summer Olympic Games, including medallist Sally Conway (Billy Cusack).
The Team GB delegation will be led by Chef de Mission, Paul Ford and supported by Deputy Chef de Mission, Laura Hanna. Ford will act as Deputy Chef de Mission at Tokyo 2020 and Hanna, who has been part of the staff for the last five Games, will also be part of the wider Tokyo 2020 team.
Speaking after the team announcement, Ford said: “Minsk 2019 provides an important pathway towards Tokyo 2020 for sports. With automatic qualification of quota places for some, ranking points for others and three continental championships for sports you can see why Team GB has such a strong delegation going to the Games.
“It is an exciting mix of athletes and I look forward to the second European Games and the performances that I’m sure will impress and excite in equal measure.”
This excitement was matched by sports following selection as they commented on being part of Team GB and what the Minsk 2019 European Games hold in store.
British Judo Performance Director, Nigel Donohue has said: ‘The European Games is essentially our European Championships, but with the added value that we get to compete under the TEAM GB banner in a multi-sport environment, which is great preparation for both athletes and staff in terms of trialling our processes for Tokyo 2020.
We have selected a strong team for these Games. The Women, in particular, have performed consistently at the highest level over the last few years and all 9 are capable of performing and being in and around the medals. The Men are making steady progress. Ashley McKenzie (Luke Preston) has a pedigree at this level and is a current European Bronze medallist. Stuart McWatt (Stuart McWatt), Frazer Chamberlain (Preston) and Max Stewart (Dennis Stewart), have shown their potential in a number of Grand Prix’s and Grand Slams this year and we now expect a strong performance from them in a Games event.
We must not forget though that this is essentially our European Championships and a key event in the Tokyo Olympic qualification process. We must remain focussed in preparing for a strong performance at these championships, whist using the Games mode environment as an opportunity to learn in readiness for Tokyo 2020.’
Current World Championship silver medallist, Nekoda Smythe-Davis (Joanne Crowley) said: “Multi-sport Games are always amazing experiences for athletes, not just in helping us prepare for the Olympic Games, but also special in how they bring numerous sports together to be part of one team at one event. Baku 2015 was really helpful for me as part of my journey to the Rio Olympics the following year and I’m sure Minsk 2019 will have the same impact. The fact that the Games double up as our judo European Championships gives us extra incentive to perform and put a great marker down for the season and our preparations for Tokyo 2020.”
As with Baku four years previously, BT Sport has secured the UK and Republic of Ireland rights to broadcast action from the European Games this summer and will provide daily, live coverage of the Games throughout each day of the competition.
Coverage across its TV channels will follow all of the Team GB athletes in action, switching between sports as the competition unfolds. Meanwhile its BT Sport Extra red button service and digital platforms will provide live coverage of every discipline and competition.
Speaking about the Games, Head of BT Sport, Simon Green, said: “The European Games will provide BT Sport viewers an early insight into Team GB stars’ prospects for the Tokyo 2020 summer Olympic Games. With Minsk 2019 offering qualification opportunities for numerous disciplines in Tokyo and acting as the official European championships for a range of other sports, the European Games will provide a competitive edge to the sporting summer across a wide range of sports.”
*Athletes will be available for media interviews at Kitting Out at Birmingham NEC from Friday 31st May to Thursday 6th June. For all media requests during Kitting Out please email Laura.Craig@TeamGB.com*
The GB Judo athlete delegation for Minsk 2019 is below and for further information about Team GB at the Minsk 2019 European Games, please contact Thomas Rowland: firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 20 7842 5719:
Ashley McKENZIE (-60kg) (Preston)
Stuart McWATT (-81kg) (McWatt)
Frazer CHAMBERLAIN (-90kg) (Preston)
Max STEWART (-90kg) (Stewart)
Chelsie GILES (-52kg) (Simon Moss)
Nekoda SMYTHE-DAVIS (-57kg) (Crowley)
Lucy RENSHALL (-63kg) (Pete Blood)
Alice SCHLESINGER (-63kg) (Pavel Musin)
Sally CONWAY (-70kg) (Cusack)
Gemma HOWELL (-70kg) (Bill Kelly)
Natalie POWELL (-78kg) (Richard Jones)
Jemima YEATS-BROWN (-78kg) (Ian Oliver)
Sarah ADLINGTON (+78kg) (Cusack)
Athlete’s coach in brackets