Norway Cup kicks off with memorials

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The Norway Cup, one of the world’s largest football tournaments, began in Oslo on Saturday with a rose parade and memorial service in memory of the victims of the Oslo and Utøya terror attacks.

An estimated 20,000 participants have arrived in the capital for this year’s competition, which typically attracts around 1,400 youth teams of 10 to 19 year olds from around the world. After organizers decided to press ahead with this year’s event despite the terrorist attacks that rocked the nation just one week earlier, the cup kicked off with a 30-minute rose parade of all participants, followed by a concert featuring a number of locally well-known Norwegian performers.

The chair of the cup’s governing committee, Terje Lund, told news agency NTB before the parade began that it was “tremendous to see everyone who has turned out here.” Lund’s own niece was injured in the Utøya island shootings.

Several ministers were in attendance at the cup’s launch events, including Education Minister Kristin Halvorsen. Artists who took part included Swedish rapper Timbuktu and Norway’s entrant to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Stella Mwangi. From the stage, Timbuktu told the audience that “however much hate there is, there is enormously more love in the world,” adding that “Norway has shown that this week.” Halvorsen also spoke, stating that “we want to have a diversity of culture and religions, like there is here at the Norway Cup, a society that the terrorist wanted to stop.”

Views and News staff