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At what stage are the preparations for the European Games? On Tuesday, the first of a series of debates on the upcoming event was held on Radio Krakow, and the discussion focused primarily on sports facilities and transportation infrastructure. “Because of the Games, we are modernizing sports facilities that serve our athletes and our young people on a daily basis,” noted Secretary of State at the Ministry of Sport and Tourism, Andrzej Gut-Mostowy.

The Kraków-Małopolska European Games are fast approaching. The opening ceremony will take place in four months. To mark the occasion, Radio Kraków launched a series of debates on the state of preparations for the event. The conversation was attended by Secretary of State at the Ministry of Sport and Tourism Andrzej Gut-Mostowy, Marshal of the Małopolska Region Witold Kozłowski, Rector of the University of Physical Education Andrzej Klimek, Advisor to the Mayor of Krakow for Sports Janusz Kozioł and President of the Organising Committee Marcin Nowak.

Benefits for students

The debate took place in the University of Physical Education, so Rector Andrzej Klimek was the first to speak and assured that the university would be ready. Modern pentathlon competition will be held on campus.

“Our campus needed to be modernized and it is happening now. Today, the university’s grounds are one big construction site. We started with the modernization of the sports games’ hall, and it will basically be a new facility that will serve the students after the Games. The athletics stadium, among others, will also undergo modernization. I know that time is running out, but the president of the company responsible for the renovation assured us that there is no risk, and the work is proceeding without delay,” Klimek said.

The UPE will be a huge beneficiary of the Games, as it has received hefty subsidies for facility upgrades thanks to the organisation of the event. “We are currently carrying out investments worth 66 million zlotys, of which 44 million are related to the European Games. We would never have raised such amounts on our own. Of the 66 million mentioned, as much as 56 million comes from external sources, mainly from the Ministry of Sports and Tourism. This is a higher amount than our annual subsidy from the Minister of Education and Science for a full year of university’s maintenance. It is hard to imagine that we could renovate any of these facilities with our own funds,” he emphasised.

Sports quality

Several other facilities will undergo modernization in connection with the hosting of the European Games. “Nowy Targ Arena will have completely new locker rooms and facilities. I’m sure that the parents of the children practicing there will see the difference and appreciate that a fundamental change has taken place. So, on the occasion of the Games, we are modernizing the infrastructure that will serve our youth. This event is a great opportunity to generally improve the quality of sports facilities throughout the region,” Andrzej Gut-Mostowy pointed out.

Marshal Witold Kozłowski highlighted the sports quality of the upcoming event. “In Zakopane, for example, there will be a real celebration of ski jumping. There will be men and women jumping, there will be mixed team competitions, on the Wielka and Średnia Krokiew jumping hills. There has never been such an event in Zakopane before,” he pointed out.

Similar point of view was shared by the President of the Organising Committee, Marcin Nowak. “We already have assurances that the jumping competition will be attended by all the leading national teams, in the strongest lineups. Boxing is also worth noting. There will be 44 Olympic qualifiers to be won, and there has never been such an event in European history before. I am convinced that every fan of the sport is waiting for boxing at the Games. Due to the number of Olympic qualifiers in each sport, we will admire the best athletes. The real elite of European athletes will come to us,” he announced.

Changes in Kraków

Marcin Nowak spoke also about facilities outside the Małopolska region. “We are talking about flagship facilities. In Rzeszów, a modern water jumping pool has been built. In Wrocław, modernization work is underway on the most modern sports shooting centre in Poland. And the Silesian Stadium in Chorzów, where athletics competitions will be held, is a gem of Polish sports arenas,” he noted.

Janusz Kozioł drew attention to what will change in Kraków. The Opatkowice junction is finally being rebuild, and it is very important for anyone who wants to travel from Kraków to Zakopane. He stressed that thanks to the Games, the modernization of streetcar fleet in Kraków is also taking place.

He was also asked about the modernization of the Henryk Reyman Stadium. “The investments are going in the direction to modernize the lump of the stadium. In addition, energy-saving solutions will be introduced, which will make it cheaper to maintain the facility, Kozioł announced.

Witold Kozłowski pointed out that preparations for the event are taking place in troubled times. “In this difficult situation, we want to show Europe that we are capable of taking on big challenges. And we are able to effectively carry out preparations for event as large as the European Games,” the Marshal noted.

The debate can be listened to on the Radio Kraków website. The conversation was moderated by Jacek Bańka and Jakub Niziński.