Belarus President Wants Arena By October

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko used his visit to the Minsk Arena construction site to remind contractors that he’d like to see the job finished by October.

He was prepared to lend a hand, as his April 13 visit, which coincided with a nation-wide day of voluntary cleanup work, included a little time tidying up the site.

Lukashenko also laid a foundation stone for the Walk Of Sports Fame, which leads up to the opening of the new facility and will be used to display commemorative plaques in honour of Belarusian Olympic champions.

Lukashenko said the arena’s architectural design is “more advanced than the national library” and he sees the venue becoming “a real centre for active leisure and promotion of the healthy lifestyle.”

The 13,000-capacity arena in the country’s capital is part of a new complex and will be a multipurpose indoor venue. It is expected to be used mostly for concerts, ice hockey and other indoor sporting events.

President Lukashenko’s visit was to mark the completion of the 2,000-seat velodrome, another part of the complex, which will host the December 30 Open Cycling Track Championship, an international event that will attract competition from neighbouring states.

The complex will also have an ice arena with a speed skating rink.

The new building will provide strong competition for Minsk Sports Palace, a 5,000-seater opened in 1996, home of Kontinental Hockey League team HC Dynamo Minsk.