Charity relay opened Haapsalu stadium, Estonia
Several hundred children turned out at the newly renovated sport facilities of the Estonian coastal town of Haapsalu on 7 May for a relay bringing together Estonian and Norwegian aspiring athletes.
On the bright spring day of 7 May, 300 cheering children gathered in Haapsalu to participate in an Estonian spin-off competition of the Norwegian ‘Tine-stafetten` (relay in Norwegian). A team of 8 children from Gausdal, Norway were running side-by-side with their Estonian mates to test the new sports facilities and to contribute to a charity campaign for the rehabilitation of physically disabled children.
At the opening event of the new stadium, renovated with support from the EEA and Norway Grants, Ingrid Danilov, Mayor of Haapsalu, underlined the importance of sports facilities for promoting a healthy lifestyle for children. Svein Arne Hansen, President of the Norwegian Athletics Federation and Vice-President of The European Athletics Association, shared the children`s enthusiasm over the new facilities and congratulated Estonia on being chosen to host the 2011 European junior championship in athletics.
In addition to the renovation of the stadium, used for physical education classes for 1700 school-children and numerous sports clubs in Haapsalu, the sport complex has been expanded with a football field, a discus throw circle, a basketball court, a volleyball court and 2 tennis courts.To inaugurate the new football field, players from the leading football club in Estonia, FC Flora, participated in a joint training exercise with the children.
The inauguration of Haapsalu stadium also served as a launching event of the ‘Norwegian Week` in Estonia, which included concerts, exhibitions, a seminar on energy efficiency, and a Norwegian-Estonian friendship day at the medieval town hall square in Tallinn.