Holyrood will welcome participants in the 2008 International SchoolSport Federation (ISF) World Schools Orienteering Championships next week. The competition’s opening ceremony will take place in the Garden Lobby of the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 22 April, followed by the closing ceremony in the landscaped gardens on Saturday 26 April from 2pm.
The Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer will host the events, alongside Health and Sport Committee Convener Christine Grahame MSP. This is the first ISF Championship held in the UK.
Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said: "Orienteering is obviously a very challenging sport, and although a competition, this event provides the opportunity for young people from across the globe to come together in the spirit of international friendship. I am especially delighted that the opening and closing ceremonies are being held in Scotland’s parliament and that we will be able to warmly welcome each one of these young ambassadors."
The ceremonies are part of a week-long festival of sport, cultural, social and educational activities for the 450 participants between 13 and 16 years of age from 20 countries. The participating countries are:
- New Zealand
During the week, participants will take part in three races, one in Fife, Stirling and Edinburgh.
During the week, 80 Scottish school pupils from the following 12 schools will take part:
- Aboyne Academy (West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine)
- Belmont Academy (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley)
- Biggar High School (Clydesdale)
- Craigmount High (Edinburgh West)
- Currie High (Edinburgh Pentlands)
- Douglas Academy (Clydebank and Milngavie)
- Firrhill High (Edinburgh Pentlands)
- Jedburgh Grammar (Roxburgh and Berwickshire)
- Kilmarnock Academy (Kilmarnock and Loudoun)
- Lanark Grammar (Clydesdale)
- Peebles High (Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale)
- St. Thomas Aquinas (Glasgow Anniesland)
On Tuesday, guests including the Secretary General of the International SchoolSport Federation, Jan Coolen, will be greeted by pipers from Boghall and Bathgate Juvenile Pipe band and entertained by the Royal Scotland Country Dance Society.
Prior to the closing ceremony on Saturday 26 April, there is an opportunity for all the schoolchildren, coaches and heads of delegations to take part in a friendship relay where teams of three orienteers from different nations compete in a fast, furious and friendly race in Edinburgh city centre including Holyrood Park.
The closing ceremony will then take place in the Parliament’s landscaped gardens between 2pm and 3.30pm, hosted by the Presiding Officer. Medals will be awarded by the Presiding Officer and Christine Grahame MSP, Convener of the Health and Sport Committee. Edinburgh Samba Band will entertain the crowds and championship participants.
The International SchoolSport Federation (ISF) is the World organising body for school sport. With a membership of over 60 countries from all five continents, the Federation organises World Championships in a wide range of sports.
Roads around the Parliament and Holyrood Park will be closed from 7.00am to 4.00pm on Saturday 26 April to accommodate the friendship relay in Holyrood Park and the closing ceremony in the landscaped gardens.