For the second time the European Week of Sport went beyond the EU borders, as in this year’s edition non-EU countries were also participating in the Week. To celebrate the success of the activities beyond the EU, the European Commission organised a high-level Seminar “European Week of Sport Beyond Borders” in Kiev, Ukraine, on 28 October. The event was hosted by the Ukrainian Olympic Committee.
In the morning the programme included an expert seminar. The policy introduction was given by the Head of European Commission’s Sport Unit, Yves Le Lostecque with Mykola Movchan from the Ukrainian Olympic Committee and Heidi Sulander, Chair of the Working Party on Sport under the Finnish EU Presidency. Second session included a tour de table by the national coordinating bodies of the European Week of Sport, where also National Olympic Committees of Ukraine, Serbia and France shared their experiences on the 2019 edition, as these NOCs serve as national coordinating bodies. Third session was dedicated to EU funding opportunities, and in this session EOC EU Office Deputy Director Heidi Pekkola gave a brief introduction to the possibilities for sport to benefit from the EU’s external funding programmes for Eastern Europe, Western Balkans and Turkey.
In the afternoon the programme featured a high-level round table on “How to attract people to practice more sport?” In his opening words, President Bubka shared the good experiences of the NOC as national coordinating body of the Week: “The NOC of Ukraine pays great attention to promoting an active and healthy lifestyle besides the development of high-level sport. With the European Week of Sport in Ukraine, we organised events in different parts of our country, which attracted thousands of participants. Our famous Olympians have been actively promoting the Week as EWoS Ambassadors.” Olympic movement was furthermore present in the programme with a testimony on the legacy of Pierre de Coubertin, given by his great-grandnephew Yvan de Navacelle de Coubertin, who shared interesting insights on the history of the Olympic movement and its links to world diplomacy.
The introduction part was followed by two panels both discussing the topic “How to attract people to practice more sport?” – first one focusing on the traditional sports and second one on new sports. In the first panel, President Bubka highlighted the role of early positive experiences and raised the role of schools as well as the pedagogic skills of instructors and coaches being crucial. In the same panel, Vice-President of the European Volleyball Confederation, Özkan Mutlugil, presented their new Erasmus+ sport co-financed project called “Play Volleball, Grow with it”, where they work with schools to attract more kids to start volleyball. In the second panel, Dr. Maja Makovec Brenčič, President of the International Committee of the NOC of Slovenia contributed to the discussion by presenting the role of new sports.
The European Week of Sport takes place every year on 23-30 September – this year already for the fifth time. The 2019 edition involved 47 partner organisations in 42 countries. The European Olympic Committees is one of the official partners of the Week since the very beginning.