Skjutglada kvinnor i Bredmo

I dag och till och med lördag pågår Ladies International Grand Prix på Bredmobanan i Lemland. Det handlar om skeet på högsta internationella nivå, en av de många svåra konsterna inom skjutgrenarna.

Med hagelgeväret som redskap gäller det att pricka lerduva efter lerduva i en ständig ström. Grenen kräver koncentration utöver det vanliga och uthållighet som en häst. Särskilt under dessa dagar då den åländska solen lyser starkare än på hela sommaren.
På plats i Lemland befinner sig delar av den europeiska skytteeliten för att för tjugosjätte gången göra upp om vem som är bäst.

Tävlingar som denna händer inte av sig självt. Åländskorna Kristina Nordlund, Eva Söderström, Sanne Jacander och Rannvá Eiriksdóttir har styrt upp allt in i minsta detalj och markerar (igen) att Åland är med även i internationella sammanhang. Det är hedervärt och viktigt, allt som sätter Åland på kartan är värt aktning och det räcker inte med det. Ålands sportskytteförening visar vägen och inspirerar med sitt arbete många andra. Bra gjort i Bredmo!
Arrangerande trion Eva Söderström, Sanne Jacander och Rannvá Eiriksdóttir har gjort ett jättejobb med att arrangera internationella skyttetävlingar på Bredmo från och med i dag till och med på lördag. Både Eva och Rasgnvá är dessutom med och tävlar om de prestigefyllda medaljerna.
Flaggorna är redo som sig bör i internationella tävlingar.
Det var fullsatt på Bredmo tidigare i dag när Ragnvá drog regler och upplägg för sina konkurrenter.
Jag hade förmånen att vara på plats i morse för att officiellt öppna tävlingen. I talet sade jag ungefär så här:
Dear competitors, organisers, friends,

It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you all to the unique place on earth called the Åland Islands. We are the jewel of the crown, the centre of the universe, the pearl of the Baltic and so on… 
You have arrived to a semiindependent or selfgoverned place in Europe. There are very few similar regions. Here in Åland we leave 29.000 inhabitants consisting of roughly 80 different nationalities. We are indeed international. One third of the Ålanders are born somewhere else which means that we over the years have developed a special form of identity. We are not Swedes, we are not Finns we are slowly becoming Euopeans but we are every day Åländers.

I hope you will find time to see more than this beautiful shooting range during your days as our guests. I would recommend a visit to Bomarsund, the place on Åland which more than anything else has defined our island. 
During the 19th century Åland was possibly and strategically the most important place in the Baltic Sea. We belonged to Finland which belonged to Russia and therefore the russians built the largest fortress in the Baltic Sea in Bomarsund on Åland. By controlling Åland they controlled the Baltic Sea. There were Russians everywhere on the island and the project that lasted 30 years or more affected all of the society. The Åländers learnt how to build, how to trade, how to deal with multiculturual influences, how to dance, how to sing and how to run businesses. The Fortress of Bomarsund made Åland and the Åländers very successful. After a while that is. Because before things became good they went really bad.

The Russian Fortress in the pearl of the Baltic did not fit in to the new Europe where the Crimean War raged. England and France joined therefore forces and sailed up through the Baltic Sea and attacked the Fortress in the summer of 1854. Although the Russians had been building it for 30 years and more it still was not finished. The unique cooperation between France and England resulted in a hefty bombardment which the russians couldnt cope with. The Fortress was blown into very small pieces of stones and the Russians were taken as prisoners of war to France and England and Åland slowly got its freedom back. The fall of the Fortress did not end there. During the battle in Bomarsund the very first three Victoria Crosses were awarded to heroines. The first one to an irish sailor named Charles Davis Lucas who showed more bravery than selfishness when he saved his ship HMS Hecla from a russian grenade that had landed on the deck of the ship. You will find a memory stone of these Victoria crosses in Bomarsund.

An effect of the Crimean War on Åland was that we ever since are neutralised and demilitarised and therefore you will see no military presence on the island. Funny enough we probably though have more rifles and shotguns here than in most other places in the world. As you will experience our shooting ranges and venues are of the highest standard.

You are here in order to compete and that is probably the most importent token of true friendship. You train hard in order to improve yourself but that also means that you inspire others to improve aswell. Competition makes the world go around. Your efforts can become others key to success.

To the Organisers I want to express a thank you for all the hard work you have done in order to make this fantastic event take place in Åland. The Ladies International Grand Prix do not happen automatically. It takes responsibility and organisational skills to actually happen. You have that and I am sure your guests will experience the true spirit of hospitality during this week. I also want to congratulate the founder of the competition Ylva Jansson whose vision clearly has become reality. In front of me I see some of the best shooters in Europe and it will be a few exciting days to find out who will end upp the best of all of you.

I wish you all the best in the coming Competition Days and I also have to give our visitors a warning. Your Hosts seems nice on the outside but you will be aware that they will do everything in order to keep the medals in Åland. We may be demilitarised but we still don’t like to loose.

Enjoy your stay and remember – once an Åländer, always an Åländer. Welcome back!


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