Tarvi Sits, Secretary General of the Ministry of Culture, sent a letter to the Health Board (Terviseamet) asking for financial assistance in covering costs caused by testing conducted on athletes.
Sits penned in the ministry's letter: "Due to the wide-scale spread of the coronavirus in the world, athletes in international competitions and training camps are asked for SARS-CoV-2 testing to participate, along with a certificate confirming results. The Estonian Olympic Association's (EOK) list of top athletes (Team Estonia) has some 450 athletes, whose travel we consider to be very necessary for the aforementioned reasons. The list is amended twice a year based on results."
He continued: "The system for testing and issuing confirmation certificates in English is already in place thanks to the cooperation of the Sports Medicine Foundation (Spordimeditsiini Sihtasutus) as the EOK's medicinal partner and SYNLAB's lab. The number of tested athletes is different each month and depends on competitions and camps taking place. The estimated number of tests yearly is around 2,500 and the total cost is €200,000 a year."
The ministry considers the amount a supplemental cost for the sports sector, one which the ministry, EOK and the Sports Medicine Foundation does not have the funds for.
Sits wrote: "Based on that, we are turning to the Health Board with a request to create an exemption for the sports sector and to compensate the SARS-CoV-2 testing costs for athletes on the Team Estonia list, to ensure the continued representation of Estonian athletes on the international sports environment."
Participation in international competitions helps popularize physical activity and healthy lifestyles in Estonian society and also increase Estonia's popularity in the world, according to the ministry letter.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste