Star forward Yahor Meshcharakow to take break from basketball

Belarusian basketball star Yahor Meshcharakow has announced plans to take a year's break from the sport, as quoted by BelaPAN.

While talking to reporters in Minsk on Wednesday, the 33-year-old forward said that "the time has come to make a pause and take a look around." "I need to travel to Washington to finish my postgraduate course, devote one year to education without basketball. This was planned a year ago, that's why the pause must not be linked to the unsuccessful season at Spartak St.Petersburg," he said.

Mr. Meshcharakow said that he was not "bidding farewell to the national team."

The player, who won the 1994 Under-20 European Championship, said there was a 50-percent chance of him resuming his career.

After the news conference Mr. Meshcharakow held a masterclass for children attending his junior basketball club in Minsk.

"If I change the life of at least one kid, if he becomes not even a basketball star but simply a good, harmoniously developed personality, this means that the club has not been established in vain. If you think about this, we have the right to change the future of children," he said.