The first “Moldova Youth Challenge” athletics competition was held on Saturday 5 May on the new track in Dinamo Stadium in Chisinau, capital of the Republic of Moldova.
European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen, European Athletics Honorary Member Karel Pilny and European Athletics Council member Panagiotis Dimakos took part in the opening ceremony.
The Moldova Youth Challenge was the first major competition held at the country's newly renovated track, which was officially inaugurated last November. The installation of the track, manufactured by track and field surfacing company MONDO, was possible thanks to the financial assistance and cooperation of European Athletics, IAAF, the International Athletics Foundation, Olympic Solidarity, and Moldova's Ministry of Interior, which owns Dinamo Stadium.
The importance of the renovation project was highlighted by the presence of the President of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, Andrian Candu, who opened the ceremony. President Candu stated that “without infrastructure it is difficult to host events or to have high performance athletes,” and praised both the national officials and international partners that came together to make the project a success.
“Compared to the old Dinamo Stadium, it is fantastic what you have now,” said President Hansen. “It’s a great day not only for Moldovan athletics, but for European athletics.”
President Hansen awarded Dinamo Stadium director Arcadie Bostan with a commemorative plaque in recognition of Ministry of Interior's involvement in the reconstruction project.
The list of other officials at the opening of the event included Secretary of State responsible for sport Radu Rebeja, representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, NOSC President Nicolae Juravschi, President of the FA of Moldova Pavel Cebanu (whose Federation assisted with the renovation of the football pitch), the management team from the Athletics Federation, as well as representatives from other sports federations.
In total, over 270 young athletes from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Romania, Ukraine and Moldova took part in the Youth Challenge, whose programme included running (including hurdles and steeple chase), jumping, javelin and shot put.
The Moldovan National Championships are scheduled to be the next event held on the new track.