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The 60-Year Wait is Now Over – World Gymnaestrada Begins
Published: 12-Jul-2015 02:19 pm
The large-scale international gymnastics exhibition World Gymnaestrada kicks off on Sunday when 21,000 participants from 53 countries gather at the Olympic Stadium to celebrate the event’s Opening Ceremony. Finland, who has been a member of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) for 91 years, is hosting the event for the first time. The 15th World Gymnaestrada offers over 200 hours of gymnastics experiences over the festival week.
Finns are regular participants of the World Gymnaestrada, which has been around since 1953. Already in the 1960s the Finnish press has been writing and rumoring about the next World Gymnaestrada being held in Finland.
- "At last the World Gymnaestrada is here and years of waiting are finally over! This is certainly a dream come true for the gymnastics community. It is great to get to host this event for the international gymnastics family, when year after year they've organised unforgettable World Gymnaestradas for us. Now it is our turn", the President of the Local Organising Committee Kirsti Partanen describes her feelings on this opening day.
The fact that Finland is hosting is apparent in the number of Finnish participants. The largest participant country delegation comes from Finland with nearly 4,000 participants. Countries with over a thousand participants also include Switzerland (3,855 participants), Germany (2,027) and Portugal (1,059). The event is the largest ever held in Finland in terms of international participation, attracting participants from five different continents.
During the World Gymnaestrada week there will be almost 1,000 gymnastics performances to see at 15 different venues. The main venue Messukeskus Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre, will offer daily 10-15 minute gymnastics shows in nine different halls. The Helsinki Ice Hall will offer six National Evenings hosted by different countries as well as the popular FIG Gala. The fields of Sonera Stadium will be filled with gymnasts instead of footballers when Large Group Performances take over the arena. The event week will culminate in Saturday’s Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium.
The World Gymnaestrada will see new arrivals in hour-long National Afternoon performances at Messukeskus along with the Midnight Sun Special evening show at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday evening. Besides the paid events, Gymnaestrada will be visible around Helsinki in the form of gymnastics related free events for the public. Open to public gymnastics workshops, gymnastics testing areas as well as free city performances make sure that every single person can become part of the great gymnastics festival.
The 20-million euro World Gymnaestrada is arranged largely with the help of volunteers and partners. The president of Republic of Finland, Sauli Niinistö and his wife Jenni Haukio are working as patrons of the World Gymnaestrada 2015 Helsinki. Held every four years, Gymnaestrada is an event authorised by the International Gymnastics Federation, FIG, which is organised in Helsinki in cooperation with the Finnish Gymnastics Federation, the city of Helsinki and the Ministry of Education and Culture.
For interview opportunities and additional information, please contact Meike Behrensen from the International Gymnastics Federation.
The World Gymnaestrada 2015 Helsinki is a seven day lasting non-competitive gymnastics festival which will gather together 21,000 participants from more than 50 different countries in Helsinki. The event will start on July 12th and end on July 18th and is in terms of international participants the biggest event ever held in Finland. This worldwide Gymnastics for All event authorised by International Gymnastics Federation is a organised every four years and attracts the largest number of active participants of any FIG event. The President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö and the First Lady Jenni Haukio act as the patrons of the World Gymnaestrada 2015 Helsinki. The 15th World Gymnaestrada is organised by the Finnish Gymnastics Federation with the cooperation of the City of Helsinki and the Ministry of Education and Culture.