On 16 February, officials from the Games of the Small States of Europe (GSSE) visited Montenegro. In May 2019, Montenegro will welcome 1,500 athletes to the bi-annual Games for the first time in the country’s history. From 27 May – 1 June next year, the 18th edition of the Games will welcome athletes from Cyprus, Iceland, Monaco, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Malta, San Marino, and hosts Montenegro. Athletes will compete in athletics, bowling, volleyball, beach volleyball, basketball, swimming, judo, shooting, tennis and table tennis. The towns of Budva, Podgorica, Bar, Cetinje and Tivat will all host events.
GSSE Secretary General Angelo Vicini, and President of the Technical Commission Jean Pierre Schöbel, stated that while the Games are primarily a sporting event, they will hopefully have a much wider impact. Vicini and Schoebel were guests of the Montenegrin Olympic Committee for a few days.
Vicini said: “The Games will be a great opportunity for Montenegro, not just from a sporting perspective but also from a tourism point of view. There will also be the opportunity for each country’s leaders to discuss political and economic issues, as well as new possibilities of cooperation between the states.”
After visiting the venues, GSSE officials were unanimous in their confidence in Montenegro to host a successful Games.
Speaking after the visit, Schobel said: “We had meetings with the Local Organising Committee and representatives of the Montenegro NOC. They are doing a great job and have provided us with a comprehensive document with all the necessary technical details. I was impressed with the venues we visited, some of which are already at an international level. I have every confidence that by next year everything will be in order and will be ready for the Games.”
A member of the Montenegrin Technical Committee Igor Vušurović, announced that the Montenegro NOC had sent an invitation to IOC President Thomas Bach to be a guest at the Games.
“It will be his first official visit to Montenegro, which is a great honour for us. As hosts, we have to ensure that we highlight our warm hospitality and opportunities for tourism.”
Prior to the Opening Ceremony of the Games, the Association of the GSSE General Assembly will be held in Budva from 24-25 May 2019.