Simonovic: Montenegro will be ready for GSSE

Montenegro will be ready to welcome the Games of the Small States of Europe (GSSE) and be a suit able host, said Montenegrin Olympic Committee's President Dusan Simonovic. From May 27 to June 1, 2019, Montenegro will host the 18th Games of the Small States of Europe, which will gather competitors from European countries with less than a million inhabitants. GSSE are a multi-sport competition organized by the European Olympic Movement since 1985.

The arrival has been announced by the athletes from Cyprus, Iceland, Monaco, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Malta and San Marino, which will compete in ten sports. Athletes will compete in athletics, bowling, volleyball, beach volleyball, basketball, swimming, judo, shooting, tennis and table tennis.

Games will be held in five cities: Podgorica, Budva, Bar, Tivat and Cetinje. City of Bar will be the host of athletics and basketball competitions, table tennis will be played in Tivat, judo in Cetinje, while swimming competitions are to be held at the swimming pool in Podgorica. The host of other competitions will be the city of Budva, which will also host the opening ceremony.

Simonovic said that the Games of the Small States of Europe are a great opportunity for Montenegro not only from the aspect of sports itself, but also because of the promotion of its tourist potential.

“In a way, the GSSE will legitimate both the MOC and Montenegro, and present them in a completely new way. It will be an advertisement that will go around the world and be witnessed by 206 National Olympic Committees and countries of the world. This is a fantastic opportunity, and I hope we will experience big benefits from the Games, and not only for sports. That was our ambition when we decided to organize such an event,” said Simonovic in an interview to Montenegro News Agency – MINA.

President of MOC is convinced that there will be considerable benefits from the GSSE, stating that the goal is to present Montenegro as an investment and tourist destination.

“We will make efforts, together with the Ministry of Tourism and national and local tourism organizations, to present Montenegro as a respectable investment and tourist destination. We will strive to present ourselves in the best light, and to not make any mistakes in this presentation. The President of the International Olympic Committee Tomas Bach will be our guest of honor. This will be the first time that the president of the IOC is coming to Montenegro”, said Simonovic.

Furthermore, he reminded that during the GSSE guests of Montenegro will be the Prince Albert of Monaco and Duke of Luxembourg, as well as many other important figures.

“It will be demanding to organize, we need to be able to provide the treatment that these people deserve. We are bound to do this. I am sure that, with the help of state authorities, friends and volunteers, with a significant support from the European and International Olympic Committee, we will be able to do this properly – with their experience and with our desire and potential, “said Simonovic.

He said that the Prime Minister Dusko Markovic will officialy open the GSSE as the head of the honorary committee. Prime Minister will also be the host to the President of the International Olympic Committee Tomas Bach during his visit to Montenegro.

Simonovic emphasized that much was done up tot his point, and that the time until the start of the Games will be used to bring these operations to completion.

“First of all, in sports infrastructure, where we needed to intervene significantly. We still have a lot of important work, primarily on the athletic track in Bar where the works are underway. There is work being done on bowls’ arenas in Budva, on the shooting range in Markovici, and on the tennis courts within the Slovenian Beach. We have to make two olympic courts for beach volleyball, finish the branding of all competition areas and surrounding places”, said the President of MOC.

He pointed out that almost 1,000 athletes are expected, stating that this will be a new record of the GSSE.

“While this record is our pleasure to have, it also represents a major challenge. We are also honored that several competitions in swimming and table tennis will be qualification events for the Olympic Games. This is something to celebrate, but also a great liability in every aspect – technical, organizational and financial. We need to ensure that everything goes smoothly”, said Simonovic.

Furthermore, the MOC’s President underlined that he was not dissatisfied with what has been done so far, but that everything must be kept under great care in order to organize the GSSE in proper manner.

“Our focus is on GSSE, we are concentrated fully on this competition, most importantly because we are the hosts, and have to do our own work. Secondly, we are also preparing for the European Games in Minsk where, I am certain, we will have a respectable team, competitive for high rankings”, said Simonovic.

MOC’s President stated that Olympic Games in Tokyo are close, but that we are still missing the norms that need to be provided for this competition.

“I hope we have a team at the level from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. This will not be easy because it is sometimes more difficult to ensure the norm than to achieve a good result on the Games. There is a shift in generations and in some sports it will be a success just to get Olympic visas. I believe that, besides water polo and handball teams, we will also have representatives in individual sports. We have nine scholars, but we also help other athletes who have a chance to reach the Olympic Games. It is in the nature of sport and humanity to hope for such things”, said Simonovic.

Finally, Simonovic pointed out that the situation is not alarming and that Montenegrin athletes will achieve norms for Tokyo.

“The opportunity to win Olympic visas will last until April for most, while in some sports by June next year. This is not alarming, there is still time to get visas. I believe in a large Montenegrin delegation and good results in Tokyo. Certainly there will be time for the analysis of what has been and what hasn’t been achieved”, said Simonovic.