Today, on the 23 September, the III European Week of Sport was launched within the XX Tartu Mountain Bike Marathon’s children’s events at the Tähtvere sports park in Tartu, where around 3000 young cyclists were expected to participate. The European Week of Sport promotes sport and physical activity across Europe. At the opening ceremony of the European Week of Sport at 10.45 (EET), participants were greeted by the Estonian Minister for Culture Indrek Saar, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Tibor Navracsics, mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas, and member of the executive committee of the European Olympic Committee Niels Nygaard.
The European Commission, which initiated the European Week of Sport, gave the right to organise the official opening ceremony of 2017 to Estonia. The first European Week of Sport was held in 2015, with the official opening event in Brussels. In 2016, the official opening event was held in Košice, Slovakia.
Minister of Culture Indrek Saar expressed his pleasure over the high participation rates in the European Week of Sport events among Estonians. “In most schools, many communities and sports clubs, this week will see many exciting events, competitions and sports days held across a variety of sports. Tens of thousands of people will get the chance to participate in over 900 public sport events across Estonia. I hope that the week of sport will inspire us all to be more physically active at other times as well,” said Saar.
Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: “I launched the European Week of Sport three years ago to inspire Europeans of all backgrounds, ages and fitness levels to experience the joy and well-being physical activity can bring into their lives. This Europe-wide initiative has been growing every year, and I was happy to open the third edition in Tartu, a city that sets a fantastic example of how to encourage people to integrate sport into their daily lives – in the long run. Sport is vital in building communities, but also an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. As announced in Tartu, the European Commission will now work much more closely across policy areas to promote healthy lifestyles – involving actions in fields such as physical activity, education, health, food, research and innovation.”
Patron of the Week of Sports and vice president of the Estonian Olympic Committee Jüri Tamm explained that schools, sports clubs and employers understand the significant responsibility that they have for their people and their whole society, and they are promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyles more. “The European Week of Sport is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to find a new hobby related to sports and activity, as well as a suitable schedule for themselves, because what’s even more important than being active is being so in a regular and appropriate way,” stated Tamm. “I am very glad that during these three years, many big and small actors across Estonia have joined in spreading the word, bringing new opportunities for increasing physical activity,” added Tamm.
Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas stated that he was very happy to host the opening of the European Week of Sport specifically in Tartu, where sports and physical activity are popular among people, and large-scale public sport events show outstanding participation rates. “I hope that the people of Tartu will also actively participate in the public sports events during the Week of Sport and set a good example to all of Europe,” said Klaas.
According to the Director of the Tartu Mountain Bike (MTB) Marathon Indrek Kelk, the organisers are very glad that the childrens’ events of the XX Tartu MTB marathon were chosen for launching the European Week of Sport. “I hope we will be able to give our best contribution to promoting sport and physical activity in Estonia and the European Union, as well as show the activity habits and sports traditions of Estonians to the rest of Europe,” said Kelk.
During the week, over 900 events of varying formats will be held across Estonia for participants of all ages. Information about the open training sessions and events can be found on the European Week of Sport website.
The European Week of Sport in Estonia is coordinated by the Estonian Olympic Committee and the association Sport for All).
Programme for the opening ceremony of the European Week of Sport.
The official opening of the European Week of Sport can be viewed via webstream from the Tähtvere sports park in Tartu.