EU bridge: Children from both banks of Nistru river excel at the Chisinau International Marathon

Over one hundred children and sport veterans from the right and left bank of the Nistru River participated for their first time at the International Marathon in Chisinau. They practice sports in better conditions, in modern facilities, refurbished with the European Union’s support, offered in the framework of the “Support to Confidence Building Measures Programme”, implemented by the UNDP.

So, people from Blijnii Hutor, Parcani and Grigoriopol (left-bank of the Nistru River), and from Serpeni, Vadul Raşcov, Chircaiesti, Tanatari, Cirnateni, Criuleni and Varnita, on the right bank came to Chisinau to test their performances at the Marathon - the most popular sport event of the year. Their participation was possible due to EU’s support.

“I am glad to see this exciting sport event, where the EU is supporting the participation of children from the left bank of Nistru River through our confidence building measures project. With this type of initiatives, the EU helps bring people from both banks closer to each other”, mentioned Peter Michalko, the European Union ambassador to the Republic of Moldova.

“The participation of people from the left bank of the Nistru River at the Marathon turns this event into another solid bridge between both banks of the Nistru River”, said Dafina Gercheva, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative.

Over 80 children aged between 8 and 12 years old participated in the Fun Run - 1.5 km distance.

One of the participants is Valeria Plesca from Parcani, the left bank. She was accompanied at the competition by her couch and other 9 children. “I’ve been practicing sport since I enrolled at school.  Lightweight athletics and table tennis are my favorites. I participate in such a big competition for the first time. I'm glad I had the chance to test my strength”, says the student.

Another 14 children and coaches participated in professional races of 5, 10 and 21 km.

Nicolae Ciumac, one of the sport veterans who participated in the competition, is a Paralympic champion at the Olympics Games in Atlanta, 1996, where he won the bronze. At the Marathon in Chisinau, the athlete, who is a coach at a left bank school, won a medal at the 10 km race. “I came to this competition with a group of 10 children I have been training for a few years. Such competitions are very welcome as they increase people's interest in sports and promote a healthy lifestyle”, said the coach.

Another participant at the 10 km race, Sergiu Virlan, a 7th grade student at the school from Serpeni village, Anenii Noi disctrict, says that sports are practiced by many people in his native village. “We play football, volleyball, we practice light athletics. I believe that the number of people doing sports will increase even more once the sports facility in our village will be re-opened, now being renovated with the support of the Europeans”, said the student.

Alexandru Caliman from Varnita village, Anenii Noi district, as well as sports veterans Arcadii Bodac and Victor Cerneavschii from Grigoriopol town, the left bank of the Nistru River, ran a half marathon.

From over 80 infrastructure projects from both banks of the Nistru River, refurbished with EU support in the framework of the “Support to Confidence Building Measures” Programme, 13 are sports facilities. The Programme contributes to enhancing confidence between people living on both banks of the Nistru River by involving local leaders, the representatives of business environment, and civil society in joint projects of business development and social infrastructure improvement.