Respected parents, coaches, and connoisseurs of sports! I feel enormously honored to cordially greet you on the opening ceremony of Umid Nihollari [Progeny of Hope – transl.] sporting games in Navoi, a city that has lately turned even more fabulous and meets all of you today with special warmth and hospitality.
Right from the first days of independence, we declared human life and interests as the highest value, and set out to create worthwhile living conditions for our people as our core objective.
Our nation has made tremendous accomplishments, acknowledged far and wide by the international community, on our path to the aforementioned righteous goal, and this fills us, the entire people of Uzbekistan, and the youth in particular, who are our hope and the force we rely on, with a sense of boundless pride.
Our confidence in the future is further reinforced today by your eyes shining with a youthful ardor and enthusiasm, the resolute determination for victory during the current fifth Umid Nihollari Games. These rather wide-scale competitions constitute another bright evidence of the effectiveness of our efforts designed to foster a physically robust and spiritually mature younger generation, to fulfill at length their intellectual potential, abilities and talent.
Uzbekistan’s current unique three-tier system of sporting games comprising Umid Nihollari, Barkamol Avlod, and the Universiade, other related events and contests along with the gracious goals embarked on by us in order to bolster children’s sports have attracted keen interest and admiration in many countries. Crucially, this has served as a sound foundation for our youths to make even more remarkable gains in the international sporting arena.
Expounding on this, it would be worth noting that some 1,500 modern sports facilities have been built in our country for the funds granted by the Children’s Sports Development Foundation. Particularly appealing are the expanding scales and scope of these works, by now covering practically every corner of Uzbekistan.
I believe you will get convinced of that during the current competitions. The state-of-the-art sports palaces and complexes, stadiums and swimming pools, cutting-edge infrastructure facilities constructed in Navoi region for 56 billion soums, meeting the highest requirements to hold these games, will undoubtedly facilitate the manifestation of your sporting gifts and skills, and the nurturing of thousands of young athletes in the future.
Owing to these extensive opportunities made possible in our country, children’s sport has come to be a truly nation-wide phenomenon, already yielding fruits on the ground. This can be observed in the following indicators: within the last four years the number of regular sport-goers among schoolchildren aged 6-15 has grown from 29 percent to nearly 35 percent, while among girls in particular it has risen from 24 to 31.5 percent.
Surely, all this has been positively influencing the way we promote a comprehensively sophisticated generation. The share of absolutely healthy children in Uzbekistan has been mounting to reach 63 percent in 2011 from that of 52 percent in 2005. In this regard we have been approaching the indicator levels of advanced nations, which certainly is good news indeed.
Dear contest participants!
The Umid Niholari Games kicking off today are important also for the fact that they are designed to further such noble goals as giving the millions of our young men and women access to sports, encouraging the society to get accustomed to healthy lifestyle. Some 1.6 million schoolchildren have contended in district and city stages of these competitions, suggestive of the steadily growing role and significance of these games in the process of popularization of sports among the youth.
Our young athletes who are to leave soon for the 30th Summer Olympics due in the British capital of London, made their first strides into big sports in these very competitions you are partaking at the moment. This, I assume, will add to your enthusiasm and energy and boost up your aspiration for triumph.
While wishing the best of luck to our talented athletes disposed to defend the honor of our Motherland in the forthcoming Olympics, all of us today believe that you, following their footsteps, will raise high the flag of Uzbekistan on world arenas.
I am confident that your heightened and thoroughgoing competitions are going to be met with flame in the heart, with keen interest and attention, as well as kind wishes by the thousands of your fellows, friends, and all fans of sports.
I would like you to always remember that our nation, our society will spare no effort, resources, and crucially, love and care, for an adequate promotion of the growing generation, its happiness and future.
Our most cherished dream is to make sure you always deserve the highest consideration and care of our native land; that you make your own input into the consolidation and burgeoning of our nation’s achievements, and that you endeavor for even greater standing of our Uzbekistan across the globe.
I will take this opportunity to express my – and our nation’s – deepest gratitude to the skillful builders and engineers, the staff of planning organizations and contractors who have erected new gyms for us. Our sincere thankfulness goes also to the people of Navoi region and all those who have contributed to this splendid effort.
Surely, Umid Nihollari contest will be held in an atmosphere of friendship, mutual respect and justice, and become a memorable event in the life of every one of you.
I congratulate you once again on this brilliant festival of youth and sports, and wish you happiness and luck, and every success in the future.
Islam Karimov, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan