Veliaj opens the year of Tirana as the European City of Sport: We will invest for a healthy city
From the Olympic Park of Tirana, the Mayor Erion Veliaj has declared open this evening the year of the European City of Sport, a title that was given to the Albanian capital in Brussels 2 months ago.
At the opening ceremony of the year as the European City of Sport 2023, Veliaj said that as the educational infrastructure was built in the last 2 years and as Tirana returned to the European Capital of Youth, it will also be invested in sport and not only the elite, but also in the community port for a healthy city.
"I believe that with this year of sports, we are given an extraordinary chance to do many other things. This Olympic Park here was a huge landfill. Who remembers, on the first day of the works there was a big pile of soil and garbage. But when we Albanians come together as a good sports team, we get results, we can work by helping each other and we can do wonderful work as we have done here. A few meters further, Tirana's swimming pools have been occupied for 20 years. The swimming federation had to go to private hotels to have the opportunity to hold a modest championship. We have just freed the swimming pools of Tirana," said Veliaj.
He said that the Dinamo Stadium and the Asllan Rusi Sports Palace are the two biggest investments in sports this year.
"We have made an important decision to return the Asllan Rusi Sports Palace under the same conditions but 10 times larger than this hall of the Olympic Park in order to finally have in Tirana a modern European hand games arena for volleyball , basketball, handball and many other sports. The Sports Palace was an aircraft hangar in the time of Italy, in the time of fascism when the airstrip was there at the time of Lapraka and the Aviation Field. The time has come and this is the year when the Sports Palace will be rebuilt from scratch, bigger, more beautiful and stronger for the generation of players who deserve a real arena of hand games," said Veliaj.
"A few meters further to the right, not to the left, is the former Dinamo stadium, the Selman Stërmasi stadium. A very beautiful area of Tirana. Unit 5 is almost the second city in Albania after Tirana. I believe that the success story and the victory that was experienced with the national arena that transformed that whole square, a square that had come out of the tiles. A stadium that had a lavash in one corner and a gomister in one corner, today has turned into one of Tirana's jewels where matches are played once or twice a week, but 24 hours a day, 7 days a week there is life, there is an economy, there are bars, there are cafes, there is coding, there are different companies and we have found a concept where sport does not stay in the corner of the city. Sport is the heart of the city. The city even brings all other services where there is sport.