Diary of a Taekwon-Do Champ 4
Well, he’s finally there. Our very own Damian Smith arrived in Belarus yesterday evening following a rather harrowing visa debacle (happens to us all). Here’s his account of events so far at the European Taekwondo ITF Championships 2014 in Minsk:
“I ended up staying in a hotel on Monday night and flew on Tuesday morning due to having no visa to pass through Russia. We had to go via Switzerland instead! I checked into the hotel last night.”
“We all registered and weighed in for the competition this morning. As a result of spending a lot of time in airports and thanks to the stress I didn’t eat a massive amount over the last couple of days, so I made my weight category comfortably and now I can relax and fuel up. We had the opening ceremony this afternoon (Wednesday) and the competition starts tomorrow (Thursday) with patterns and Team patterns. Just off to have a practice now!”
Minsk is located on the southeastern slope of the Minsk Hills, a region of rolling hills running from the southwest (upper reaches of the river Nioman) to the northeast – that is, to Lukomskaye Lake in northwestern Belarus. The average altitude above sea level is 220 metres (720 ft). The geography of Minsk was formed during the two most recent ice ages. The Svislach River, which flows across the city from the northwest to the southeast, is located in the urstromtal, an ancient river valley formed by water flowing from melting ice sheets at the end of the last Ice Age. Also within the city limits are six smaller rivers, all part of the Black Sea basin. Minsk is located in the area of mixed forests typical for most of the Belarus. Pinewood and mixed forests border the edge of the city, especially in the north and east. Some of the forests were preserved as parks (for instance, the Chelyuskinites Park) as the city grew.