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Drumroll: we have the final results of #ESSD2023

By Anita Király, ISCA


The period of October-November-December is particularly exciting for the entire European School Sport Day® network! Why? – you may ask. It is because this is the time of the year when the participation statistics of ESSD flow into the Hungarian headquarters and are ready to be accumulated and analysed! This is the period when we all find out whether or not we have set or beaten our own world record in getting schools on the MOVE!

In the field of grassroots sport and health-enhancing physical activity, our aim is not circled around being the fastest, jumping the highest, or being the strongest, but on reaching and getting as many school-aged children and their communities on the MOVE as possible!

Just to recap: in 2023, the European School Sport Day echoed and amplified the societal role of sport, and the events were accompanied by awareness- raising campaigns all over Europe and beyond. It all was aimed at finding joy in sport and physical activity to help engage children in sport, increase their time dedicated to regular physical activity and strengthen established or develop new positive emotional attitudes toward regular physical activity and integrating movement into their everyday lives.

Schools in general have great potential to contribute to individual attitudes and competencies about future-oriented healthy life management, and have a huge effect on students’ approaches to physical activity and sport. For these reasons, what a school can offer outside the formal, academic curriculum was a highly important theme for ESSD in 2023, especially the way positive attitudes are developed through movements, sports participation.

That said, are you already pondering about and keen to find out which participating country was the most active on the last Friday of September?

We will not tease you any longer, let’s get into the statistics!

In Europe alone, 2,607,025 children celebrated #ESSD2023 on 29 September and, worldwide, 2,662,215 students from 11,251 schools in 41 countries joined in. The overall participation in the event climbed by 10% (2,574,681 to 2,662,215) after a 17% recovery in 2021 during the pandemic.

Since 2015, we have come a long way. Over the past – almost one – decade of working together with our founding partners and National Coordinators, we have inspired not only schools and teachers, but also children and local community members to think outside of the box and find creative ways to engage in physical activity.

Source: ESSD 2023 results handbook


However, calculating participation rates, different statistics, and using them to evaluate whether there was positive or negative trajectory compared to the previous years would not make sense if we did not shine the light on the countries that showed the most dedication to leveraging the power of sports to drive meaningful impact and advance social engagement, especially among young people.

Countries with the highest numbers of participating schools:

  1. Denmark (1519)
  2. Hungary (1344)
  3. Poland (1126)

Narrowly missing out on a ‘medal’ was Georgia (948), which came in 4th.

Top 3 countries in terms of participating children (we have to note here that there always is a huge race for the podium):

  1. Spain (585,000)
  2. Denmark (530,651)
  3. Hungary (341,454) – achieving personal best in 2023!!

Portugal came in 4th by getting 255,237 students on the MOVE!

Source: ESSD 2023 results handbook

To be honest, the vision behind the concept of the European School Sport Day has never only been to commemorate its predecessor, the Hungarian School Sport Day. The Hungarian School Sport Federation and its founding partners have always envisaged engaging potential future participants who will be able to ensure the sustainability of the events, not only in Europe, but also world-wide. Therefore, along with the increasing number of participating schools and children, it is of utmost importance to mention the newest ambassadors of ESSD both in and outside of Europe. The newcomers of #ESSD2023 are:

  • Andorra,
  • Moldova.

They deserve a huge round of applause for adding more colour to the ESSD network with their presence for their efforts and dedication, allowed ESSD to set foot on three continent!

Check out the recap video of the world-wide event of ESSD

Posted on 20/12/2023 by Anita Király, ISCA


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