Merko is main sponsor of elite Estonian skiers’ Team Haanja
Eight Estonian skiers – Triin Ojaste, Algo Kärp, Raido Ränkel, Aivar Rehemaa, Marko Kilp, Alvar Johannes Alev, Karel Tammjärv and Andreas Veerpalu – have founded Team Haanja, a non-profit aimed at providing athletes with a professional level of training for the season about to begin. The first sponsor of the team is AS Merko Ehitus, which has supported Estonian skiing for years.
The head of MTÜ Team Haanja, Karel Tammjärv, says the team, in cooperation with athletes, supporters and partners, wants to do its part to advance competitive skiing in Estonia and athletes’ development, by creating conditions for modern training. “Our role models are private teams operating along the lines of similar concepts in Finland, Sweden and Norway, which work toward a bigger goal, having an independent sponsorship structure. Our athletes are ambitious and, hopefully, there will be potential supporters, and we’ll try to bring them together. The Ski Association has limited opportunities and Estonian sports are looking for a more viable model for funding. The season will soon be upon us and thus we had to roll up our sleeves,” said Tammjärv.
The cooperation agreement between Team Haanja and major sponsor Merko Ehitus was signed today. “Merko has been a strong supporter of Estonian skiing for several decades and we are glad that the company is willing to connote investing into the future of the sport even when the present day is not so rosy. We believe and hope that Merko’s contribution to Team Haanja will encourage other supporters to step out and invest in the future of our skiers and Estonian skiing. “We greatly appreciate the fact that Merko is supporting the improvement of sports facilities for the entire Estonian people, and we consider it important that as many people in the country as possible have free of charge and accessible ways of being active in their own hometowns,” he said. In cooperation with Eesti Energia and Swedbank, Merko Ehitus has supported the Eesti Terviserajad (Estonian Recreational Trails) for 10 years. Today the country has more than 100 tracks; all are in good condition, most of them are illuminated, and the trails are open 24 hours a day and year-round for free public use.
“It’s positive that top skiers are looking for a new development model and we hope that Team Haanja will bring new life to Estonian skiing. We have been a long-time supporter of cross-country skiing for two purposes: To contribute to development of internationally competitive top Estonian skiers and, on their example, to encourage more people in Estonia to play sports and exercise more,” said Andres Trink, chairman of the management board of AS Merko Ehitus.
Team Haanja, a non-profit association initiated by athletes, aims to take new athletes to the top of the international rankings and keep veteran skiers competitive, contributing to fostering training conditions up to date with contemporary requirements.