President Lukashenko’s son is new head of Belarus Olympic committee

Viktor Lukashenko, son of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, was elected the new head of the country’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) on Friday.

He replaced his father, who had held the post since 1997.

“There will be no theft, corruption, misuse of money under his leadership,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

“Athletes and coaches will be treated kindly and fairly. As for me, I will still keep in touch with what is going in sport,” the president said.

Last year’s presidential election, which was widely seen as rigged, triggered mass protests that were violently shut down by police. Since then, athletes have repeatedly criticized the long-time leader.

In autumn, more than 1,500 Belarusian athletes wrote an open letter demanding fair new elections and the end of the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators.

Lukashenko said these athletes support the opposition and called them traitors to the country.

He added that the athletes had been trained by the country’s sports schools, doctors had looked after them free of charge, and even after a disqualification they were not abandoned.

Now they were “begging” international organizations for sanctions against the Olympic movement in Belarus, the 66-year-old said.

Last month, Belarus was removed as co-host of the ice hockey world championships due to the political situation in the country. The Latvian capital Riga is to be the new sole host.

On Aug. 9, 2020, Lukashenko had his election confirmed for a sixth term with 80.1 percent of the vote. During the demonstrations that ensued, more than 30,000 people were detained.