The Games of the Small States of Europe will be held in Montenegro for the first time in 2019, it was announced yesterday at the end of a general assembly.

Montenegro, who made their first appearance at the Games four years ago, had expressed interest to host the Games for the first time in Luxembourg 2013 and yesterday they got the green light from the GSSE delegates.

During the presentation of their bid yesterday, Montenegro officials initially announced that only nine sport will be contested in 2019, two fewer than this year in Iceland.

The proposed programme included athletics, swimming, judo, shooting (including both clay and target), tennis, table-tennis, basketball, volleyball and bowls.

However, the news brought protests from most of the delegates who disputed the omission of beach volley.

After another round of talks, the Montenegro officials accepted to include beach volley in the 2019 calendar which is expected to be staged across five cities and held between June 3 and 8.

On another matter, Igor Vusurovic, the Montenegro director of administration of sport, commented on the impact the European Games might have on the future of the GSSE.

Asked by journalists whether the European Games, the inaugural edition of which in Baku gets under way just a few days after the closing ceremony in Reykjavik, Vusu-rovic said the continental sportsfest can leave a damaging effect on the GSSE.

“I think this is a matter that we need to discuss as the European Games are likely to have a negative impact on the popularity of the GSSE and even threaten its future,” the 2000 Olympic volleyball gold medallist for the former Yugoslavia, said.

“Perhaps, the best solution could be to hold the GSSE every four years instead of every two. That way we would minimise the risk of having one sports event undermine the chances of another.”

Another item on the agenda at yesterday’s meeting was the next GSSE in San Marino.

Delegates were shown video footage of the 2017 venues by officials from the San Marino National Olympic Committee.

San Marino also confirmed the sports programme announced two years ago – archery, athletics, basketball, volleyball, beach volley, cycling, judo, shooting (clay and target), swimming, table tennis, tennis and bowls.

In 2017, archery will make its first appearance ever at the GSSE since its inception in 1985 and bowls will be back for the first time since 2007 along with cycling which last featured on the GSSE programme two years ago in Luxembourg.

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