The initiator of the European Week of Sport, the European Commission, gave the right to organise the opening event of the European Union Week of Sport 2017 to Estonia. The Week of Sport will be launched on 23 September in Tartu together with Tartu Cycling Marathon, where about 10,000 participants are expected to start.
According to the Minister of Culture Indrek Saar, it is a big recognition for Estonia that the European Commission supported the proposal of the Ministry of Culture to organise the official opening of the next European Week of Sport in Estonia. “It provides us a unique possibility to highlight Estonia on the international sports arena and bring sport leaders to Tartu during the Presidency of the Council of the European Union,” said Saar.
The European Commissioner Tibor Navracsics stated in his confirmation letter on launching the Week of Sport in Estonia that organising the opening event of the Week of Sport outside of Brussels provides the possibility to highlight active European cities and emphasise the European dimension. “Tartu is a perfect place for the opening event, since the student town with its rich history has already previously stood out in successfully organising sports events,“ noted Navracsics.
Tartu Mayor Urmas Klaas also emphasised the long-term experience of Tartu in organising major sports events. “We are glad to host the opening of the European Week of Sport. It is a perfect possibility for Tartu to represent Estonia in a European-wide sports initiative,“ stated Klaas.
The Director of Tartu Cycling Marathon Indrek Kelk, noted that the jubilee 20th Tartu Cycling Marathon will now receive a deserved start. “It is with proud that we can consider Tartu Cycling Marathon as one of the world’s largest biking marathons, and the decision to organise the official opening of the European Week of Sport in the framework of Tartu Cycling Marathon is a recognition for all organisers but even more for the tens of thousands of participants, who have made Tartu Cycling Marathon that big in 20 years,“ said Kelk.
During the 2017 Week of Sport, international conference “University as the Supporter of Athletes’ and Trainers’ Development” will be also held in Tartu, as well as many other physical activity events for various target groups. Prior to the Week of Sport, UNESCO International Day of University Sports will be also celebrated in Tartu.
The purpose of the European Week of Sport is to popularise physical activity and sport and to raise people’s awareness about physical activity and sporting. The first Week of Sport was held on the initiative of the European Commission in 2015 with the official opening event in Brussels. In 2016, the official opening was held in Slovakia, Košice.
The European Week of Sport is coordinated in Estonia by the association Sport for All and Estonian Olympic Committee.
Undersecretary of Sport of the Ministry of Culture