Finnish Student Sports Federation celebrates 100th anniversary

Finnish Student Sports Federation celebrates 100th anniversary

Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL) celebrated its centenary 100th anniversary on Saturday, 13 April 2024 with a Gala at Koskenranta Event Centre, in Helsinki.

The Annual Ball was filled with a great atmosphere and happy reunions. The celebration brought together secretary generals from five decades and chairpersons from as far back as the 1970s, not to mention a great number of OLL alumni, students who were active in student unions, university sports employees, representatives of national exercise and sports organisations and sports influencers from international networks.

Among others, present guests and officials were greeted on behalf of  Mr Adam Roczek, President of the European University Sports Association (EUSA) and Mr Fernando Parente, Director of Development and Healthy Campus of the International University Sports Federation (FISU).

Awards and high merits were given to sports clubs and to individuals, for the excellent work in promoting OLLs goals. An Honorary Award was awarded to a person who has promoted OLLs goals in a significant way over a long period, to the Senior Special Advisor for University Sport Jussi Ansala, who received the award to a standing ovation.

Addressing the audience, Ansala highlighted the importance of a number of partners and the development of advocacy across generations:

“I also want to emphasise the cooperation between people from different generations. For example, the current regional system of university sports services did not emerge in a historical vacuum. Its roots lie in the work done by actors within the field in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s – people, we also get to have as our guests here tonight.”

The official keynote speech was delivered by Ms Sandra Bergqvist, Minister of Youth, Sport and Physical Activity, and patron of OLL’s centenary. She highlighted the importance of the University on the Move network as a force that brings higher education institutions together. She also mentioned competitions organised in Finland and the success of Finnish athletes in the European Universities Championships as factors that increase motivation. Ms Bergqvist also handed out the crosses and medals of merit of Finnish sports awarded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. 

“The celebration brought together old and new people, Finnish and international guests, all with a desire to promote student wellbeing, functional capacity and the joy of exercise. This is a good foundation from which to head towards the next decade of student sports and exercise, and new advocacy goals,” said secretary general Mr Niko Peltokangas.

The celebrations concluded with a torch relay of OLL and all of Finnish student sports. The relay will go around in Finland, visiting members and various centenary celebrations, ending at the General Assembly in November.

“The torch, lit at the celebration amid cheers, represents the importance of working together, and the 100-year-old OLL invites all higher education communities to work for more movement in universities. Together we are stronger, getting closer and closer to Universities on the Move,” says OLL President, Mr Mio Kortelainen.

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