Prime Minister Solberg’s Visit to Shanghai Meilong Middle School

football by Tang chun6.JPG
Prime Minister Solberg together with Sun Wen, Isabell Herlovsen and the girls from Shanghai Meilong Middle School. Photo: Tang Chun

On April 8, as part of her official visit to China, Norway’s Prime Minister (PM) Erna Solberg visited Shanghai Meilong Middle School, where the students combine education and sports.

 The PM had the pleasure of speaking with many of the girls from the school’s football team. As a special treat for both the delegation from Norway and the many journalists, the girls showed off their skills during a training match.

During her visit to the school, the PM also met Norwegian football star Isabell Herlovsen, since February playing for the Chinese club Jiangsu, in Nanjing. At the pitch Solberg also met with FIFA Women Player of the Century, Chinese Sun Wen. With more than one hundred goals for China’s national team, it is safe to say that Sun Wen is one of the finest representatives of Chinese football. China plans to build thousands of new football schools and pitches the coming years, so that more children can get the opportunity to play the game. The Meilong Middle School administration also told PM Solberg about how they emphasize including girls in all sports.   

As a gift from the girls, Solberg received the school team’s jersey. In return, the she gave the girls a football with symbols representing the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (the SDGs). Solberg co-chairs the group of SDG Advocates working to promote the universal sustainable development agenda. In addition, she presented the school with an invitation to Norway Cup.

Norway Cup is the world’s biggest football tournament for children and youth and it takes place in Oslo every summer. Last year, almost 2200 teams participated. This year, Norway Cup will be promoting the SDGs through a number of activities. All of the matches will be played with the same SDG football that the PM gave the girls. At Norway Cup, players from many countries meet to make friends and compete. Therefore, the tournament is a perfect arena to learn about cooperation across borders and other dividing lines.

There is a vast potential for closer sports cooperation between China and Norway. Norway has decades of experience especially within winter sports. Therefore, the Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022 will create an excellent platform for contacts and collaboration on numerous areas – from training methods to winter sports clothing and equipment.