The Torch is carried through Vitebsk ©Minsk 2019

The European Games Torch has reached the halfway point of its journey to Minsk after a visit to Vitebsk in the north of the country.

Rio 2016 trampolining gold medallist Udislau Hancharou renewed his acquaintance with the "Flame of Peace" in his home town, almost a month after taking part in the lighting ceremony.

"While in Rome, where I was one of the first to light the Flame, I did not think it would be such a grand and large-scale event back in Belarus," he said.

"It is great that the Flame visited my native city of Vitebsk."

There was no shortage of local heroes to carry the Torch. 

Wrestling great Igor Kanygin won light-heavyweight Greco-Roman silver at the 1980 Moscow Games. 

He later became a coach and now has a tournament named after him.

Irina Kryuko, a member of the team which won biathlon relay gold at Pyeongchang 2018, also took on the role of Torchbearer.

The Flame visited a sweet factory and national parks in the region.

The Torch has been on a journey across Europe ahead of the European Games in Minsk ©Minsk 2019
The Torch has been on a journey across Europe ahead of the European Games in Minsk ©Minsk 2019

People's artist Svetlana Okruzhnaya carried the Flame along with Deputy Culture Minister Natalya Karchevskaya. 

"Very soon our country will become the venue of a huge festival, both sport and cultural," she said.

"I am really proud to be a Torchbearer here."

The region is expected to supply 30 members of the Belarus team at the Games.

Earlier, the Flame had called at a nuclear plant in Ostrovets, where shift leader Vadim Matviychuk, himself a prolific athlete, ran with the Torch.

Meanwhile, in Warsaw, double Olympic hammer champion Anita Wlodarcyk carried the Flame at Poland’s annual "Olympic Picnic". 

Organisers claimed that some 25,000 visited the event which is held every year.

A safety lantern with the European Flame had been left when the Relay passed through Warsaw three weeks ago.

"This year will be special for both Poland and Belarus," said Polish Olympic Committee President Andrzej Krasnicki.

"Minsk will be the main sports arena for Europe this summer and in the autumn, we mark our 100th anniversary."