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    Hansen at the final of ‘300 Talents for the Queen’ in Minsk

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    • Hansen at the final of ‘300 Talents for the Queen’ in Minsk

    European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen’s last international trip of 2016 was a visit to Minsk this weekend.

    The main purpose of his trip to the Belarus capital was to observe the national final of the schools’ athletics competition ‘300 Talents for the Queen’ on Saturday; which has been a hugely successful grassroots project initiated by the Belarus Athletics Federation and assisted by the Belarusian Republican Unitary Insurance Company, Belgosstrakh, the biggest insurance company in Belarus.

    The nationwide competition, which has become a huge success in just a few years since it was inaugurated in 2014, involves children between the ages of six and 10 and ‘300 Talents for the Queen’ has been embraced by every school in the country, involving approximately 200,000 children.

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    After local selection events, this year each region in Belarus sent teams of 42 pupils to the final in Minsk to participate in a variety of adapted indoor athletics events.

    The overall competition was won by the Grodno region with hosts Minsk second.

    President Hansen was accompanied at the competition by Belarus Athletics Federation President Vadim Devyatovskiy, 2015 800m world champion Maryna Arzamasava, the federation’s chief coach Igor Sivodedov along with other dignitaries from Belgosstrakh and the Belarus National Olympic Committee.

    “This year Belarus has had a lot of important events. In April, there was the European Athletics CEO Conference, which was an outstanding event. I was then in Grodno for the Belarus Championships in June, which was perfectly organised. The Belarus federation is certainly working hard and is developing in the right direction,” commented President Hansen.

    “This competition was very interesting, it was a fantastic event and I am proud to be involved in this competition, indeed it was a festival.

    “What has impressed me here is that these children's competitions are held in many countries but, generally, they are not national but regional competitions.

    “I can see the happiness in the faces of children and the accompanying adults. I hope that their experiences here will help to ensure that many of them will remain in athletics in the future,” he added.