President Hansen speaks at inauguration of new Indoor Hall in Belgrade

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  • President Hansen speaks at inauguration of new Indoor Hall in Belgrade

European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen travelled to Belgrade for the inaugural “Serbian Open” indoor meeting held on Tuesday 1 March, where Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic officially inaugurated the newly built indoor facilities.

“It's a historic moment for our athletes and our country. It took six long years to build this magnificent building, a new sports symbol of Belgrade and Serbia,' said President Nikolic.

“The hall was built by the standards of the International Association of Athletics Federation, establishing the region as a centre for athletics and one of the most prestigious settings in Europe.”

“It will have an important role for our celebrated athletes and to develop and promote athletics in Serbia by introducing the sport to our children who now have the ideal training conditions.”

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The excellent indoor hall was constructed with great cooperation between the Serbian government and Serbian Athletics Federation with the support of European Athletics and IAAF. It will serve as the training venue for the 2017 European Athletics Indoor Championships with the competition taking place at the Kombank Arena in the Serbian capital.

“It was a great pleasure to attend the first Serbian Open here in Belgrade,' said President Hansen. “European Athletics has been closely following the progress of the constructions and we can only be delighted with the results.

“The Serbian spectators are always so enthusiastic and I’m very much looking forward to the European Indoors in Belgrade next year.'

One of Serbia’s leading athletes, Ivana Spanovic, achieved an excellent 6.85m in the long jump, the third best indoor result in the world this year. Romania’s Ancuta Bobocel won the 3000m in a quick time of 9:03.06 and just behind her was Amela Terzic who broke the Serbian record with 9:03.39.

Among the guests of honour was Serbia’s favourite son, tennis ace Novak Djokovic, who followed the action from the tribune with his wife Jelena. Croatian high jump star Blanka Vlasic was also present on Tuesday evening.

The opening ceremony was also attended by Minister of Youth and Sports Vanja Udovicic, State Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Zoran Djordjevic, Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali, Vice President of European Athletics Dobromir Karamarinov, President of the Athletics Federation of Serbia Veselin Jevrosimović and Secretary General Slobodan Brankovic.

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