The Flame travelled to Nesvizh ©Minsk 2019

Alexander Hleb, who represented Arsenal and Barcelona with distinction, carried the 2019 European Games Flame when it reached Minsk Oblast region on the home stretch of its journey to Minsk.

The 38-year-old midfielder brought the Torch into FC BATE Borisov's stadium where he passed it on to comedian and television presenter Vadim Galygin.

Hleb is still on the books of BATE who reached the UEFA Europa League knockout phase last season, before losing to eventual finalists Arsenal.

It was a day when football took centre stage as other Torchbearers included BATE coach Alayaksay Baha and Belarus and FC Torpedo midfielder Andrey Khachaturyan.

They later held a coaching session for youngsters who showed off their skills during a session on the pitch.

Earlier, the Flame had arrived in the region from Gomel district and had been greeted by blue skies and enthusiastic crowds on the streets of Soligorsk.

Former Arsenal midfielder Alexander Hleb carried the Minsk 2019 Torch ©Getty Images
Former Arsenal midfielder Alexander Hleb carried the Minsk 2019 Torch ©Getty Images

"Minsk Oblast has prepared thoroughly for the Games and the results can be seen in Soligorsk," said deputy governor Ivan Markevich.

The Torch was carried by miners from the Belaruskali mining company and also visited the national speleotherapy hospital.

Jean Yves Bouchardy, representing the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, also took the Flame in a symbolic leg which followed the example of the Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay.

Powerlifter Alex Kurak joined other strength athletes who have carried the Flame so far.

In Nesvizh, 2008 Greco Roman wrestling bronze medallist Mikhail Semyonov was the latest Olympian to take the Torch.

It was also carried by singer-songwriter Valery Prigun, one of the selection jury for Belarus entries for the Eurovision Song Contest .

Olga Rybachenok, the head of the Torch Relay organisation, enjoyed a few moments away from shepherding the Relay as she too carried the Torch.

The Flame is set to arrive in the Games city of Minsk on June 17.