President Hansen hails the golden opportunity

President Hansen hails the golden opportunity
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European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen addressed the crowd at the opening ceremony of the European Athletics Junior Championships in the Eskilstuna City Square on Wednesday evening.

On the eve of the 23rd European Athletics Junior Championships, three words set the scene for the next four days: Remember Eskilstuna 2015.

They came from European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen as he spoke of the glorious anticipation ahead of one of the most important events on the athletics calendar.

"Carolina Klüft," said President Hansen. "Yelena Isinbayeva, Christophe Lemaitre and Mo Farah,” there are so many who have won gold at these championships.

Sweden will host the junior championships for the first time and this will be the perfect opportunity to present the sport to the younger generation of fans, ready to celebrate new champions and witness historical performances.

"It is what makes the young athletes go on to the future, the learning process, being in the 'call room' before their event. It might be in six years, it might be in 10 years, but they will look back and say 'Remember Eskilstuna 2015'."

Over 1000 athletes will take their place at the Ekängen Arena hoping that ahead lies four days which could indeed map out their own future, just as it did in Grosseto in 2001 for Swedish heptathlete Klüft and Russian pole vaulter Isinbayeva.

They both won gold then at the European Athletics Junior Championships and within three years in Athens, they were Olympic champions.

The Eskilstuna city square was packed with athletes and fans eager to get started with the championships.
The Eskilstuna city square was packed with athletes and fans eager to get started with the championships.

Hansen was speaking to a large audience ahead of this major event. Located about 120 kilometres from Stockholm, the city of Eskilstuna has never hosted such an important international event.

As Pia Bosdotter Olsson, the President of the LOC, said: "It is the first time that an international athletics championships has been staged outside of one of Sweden's major cities.

"The city has worked hard for the championships to make it a success." Jimmy Jansson, the Mayor of Eskilstuna, said: "We are proud that Eskilstuna has been chosen and we want to make this one of the best in history.

"We are glad we can have this festival, where young people from different backgrounds can meet.

"And I hope the athletes will do the greatest of performances."

Mona Kanaan, of Eskilstuna Municipality, agreed and she said: "I am so proud all of this has finally come together so wonderfully."

Karel Pilny, the European Athletics Organisational Delegate, praised the city for being able to accommodate so many people.

He said: "I was the chairman of the evaluation committee that first came here. It has been a challenge to accommodate the record number of 1038 athletes from 47 countries, and the organisers have succeeded in doing that."

“Swedish television SVT will broadcast the championships live throughout Sweden. The evening sessions will also be available through Live Streaming on the homepage of our European Athletics website www.european-athletics.org.

“Our website will also be the best place to access the event’s Live Results,” Pilny added.

President Hansen summed it up by adding: "We are looking forward to the championships. We have young talent and new stars will be born."

(From left to right) Karel Pilly, Pia Bosdotter Olsson, President Hansen, Mayor Jansson and Mona Kanaan, during the official press conference.
(From left to right) Karel Pilly, Pia Bosdotter Olsson, President Hansen, Mayor Jansson and Mona Kanaan, during the official press conference.