Darya Domracheva will miss the Minsk 2019 Torch lighting ceremony due to illness ©Minks 2019

Illness has reportedly forced ex-biathlon star Darya Domracheva to pull out of helping to light the Flame for the Minsk 2019 European Games here tomorrow. 

Domracheva had been set to play a key role in the ceremony, due to take place in Ara Pacis, an historic monument in the centre of the Italian city.

The 32-year-old, who won her fourth gold medal at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, had been primed to join three fellow Belarusian champions for the ceremony.

But Minsk 2019 chief executive George Katulin reportedly said Domracheva would not be able to participate.

Meanwhile, a Belarusian climbing team is waiting at Courmayeur from where they will take the Flame to the summit of Mont Blanc, an early leg of its journey to Minsk.

A group of five yesterday completed a successful practice run and spent time at Rifugia Gonella in the Italian Alps before returning to join the rest of the team.

Despite the absence of Domracheva, the list of Torchbearers remains inspirational.

Yulia Nesterenko won an unexpected 100m gold in the 2004 Athens Olympics and in the process, became the first woman to run sub-11 seconds in every round.

Trampolinist Udislau Hancharou ended almost a decade of Chinese dominance at world level when he won gold at Rio 2016 when he was only 20.

Yulia Nesterenko won the Olympic 100 metres gold medal at Athens 2004 and is an ambassador for Minsk 2019 ©Getty Images
Yulia Nesterenko won the Olympic 100 metres gold medal at Athens 2004 and is an ambassador for Minsk 2019 ©Getty Images

Until the mid-1990s, competitors from Belarus had taken part in international sport wearing the colours of the Soviet Union.

That generation will be represented in Rome by peerless fencer Alena Belova, now 71.

Belova won four gold medals in the foil and also collected a silver and bronze in a career which spanned 12 years at Olympic level.

Appropriately for one so closely associated with Minsk, her Olympic appearances came in the decade of M for Mexico, Munich, Montreal and Moscow.

They will be the first of 450 Torchbearers in a Relay which will also visit Slovenia, Slovakia, Austria Hungary and Poland before crossing the border into Belarus at Brest in less than a fortnight.

The ceremony from Rome, which will be live-streamed on the Internet, is expected to feature Italian music and moments unique to the European Games.

A significant part of the ceremony will take place under cover, which may come as a relief to coordination commission chairman Spyros Capralos.

As head of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, it fell to him to make the call on where the lighting of the Olympic Torch for Pyeongchang 2018 should take place after heavy rain had flooded the field at Ancient Olympia.

His decision to press ahead was rewarded when the clouds stayed away and at least here, he will be able to enjoy the spectacle.

The live-streamed media conference before the ceremony will feature European Olympic Committee President Janez Kocijančič, who will be joined by Belarusian Minister of Sport and Tourism Sergey Kovalchuk.

The link to watch the event can be found here.