Sport as a Vital Necessity

Regular physical activity benefits both mentally and physically – participants of the Bratislava conference agreed at the conclusion of the European Team Cup.

Over 350 athletes from 13 countries participated in the premiere edition of the European Team Cup in Bratislava. "The level of organization was excellent, as was the quality of the sports performances demonstrated. And this despite the fact that the event took place for the first time. I would be very happy if we could organize a similar event in the future. Even in Turkey, where the youth make up a significant portion of the population," praised Cem Durul, the Turkish founder and executive director of the Fair Play events organization, at the Way Ahead conference in Bratislava's Hotel Nivy, culminating a week of youth sports in the Slovak capital.

Medication for mental issues

During a panel discussion, experienced mental coach Michal Kopčan talked about the positive impact of sports on an individual's physical and psychological health. "The psychological and physical aspects are interconnected. That's why we see it as crucial to attract young people to sports. They don't have to perform at an elite level, but if they can engage in sports 2-3 times a week, it will indeed positively reflect in their lives. We live in an era where many mental problems are evident, even among the younger generation. This is one way to combat that," states Kopčan. "I see this regularly in my practice," he added.

Conference attendees learned through Žaneta Surmajová, the director of the legislative and legal sports section, about how the Slovak Ministry of Science, Research, and Sport tries to help its citizens in this area. "We have financial tools not only to support professional sports but also sports for everyone. The health of the population is in our public interest, as is the effort to help young people engage in sports. That's why we organize various competitions at schools. We are therefore very pleased that an event like the European Team Cup could take place," said Surmajová.

High time

The system of talent recruitment and working with them was discussed at the conference by Milan Ladiver, the development manager of the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation. The event was summed up by its organizer and president of the Slovak Small Football Federation, Peter Králik. "After the unfortunate period of the coronavirus pandemic, it was time to launch such a project. Different cultures met here and formed friendships. The whole tournament was successful for us, even from a sporting point of view," Králik praised, certainly thrilled by the fact that the youth of Slovakia managed to defend the small football championship at the Bratislava Kuchajda tournament.

The conference was also attended by the Bulgarian president of the European Small Football Federation, Borislav Alexandrov, who described the whole project as "a wonderful experience for everyone." According to him, the event exceeded initial expectations.

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