The European Youth Olympic Festival in Maribor (EYOF) wrapped up on 29 July with a closing ceremony celebrating the young athletes and the volunteers who took part in the event. The festival is seen as an all-round success.
The summer edition of the festival came to a close as the flame of peace was extinguished in Freedom Square in the centre of Slovenia's largest city. The flame will be lit again in Macedonia's capital Skopje in 2025.
Spyros Capralos, president of the European Olympic Committees, congratulated the participating athletes and thanked Maribor and Slovenia for being an excellent host. "As the festival comes to an end I can only say it will he hard to repeat such a successful event," he said.
"All worked well, the atmosphere was excellent and all the participating athletes are satisfied," he said.
The result achieved proved the countries sent their best athletes to EYOF, he said, adding that the festival's records were beaten more than 20 times over the past six days. The competitions were broadcast live with more than a million views, "which is much more than at any other past iteration of EYOF".
Slovenian athletes won nine medals
A total of 2,419 athletes from 48 countries competed in 11 sports at 13 venues in and around Maribor. Italy were the most successful team, winning 46 medals, of which 16 golds. Germany were second with 31 medals and France and the UK were tied in third with 24.
Slovenian athletes won nine medals, of which two golds, two silvers and five bronzes. This puts the country 15th on the medal board.
"This is an exceptional success for such a small country, but a country with a big heart," Franjo Bobinac, the head of the Slovenian Olympic Committee.
As a host Maribor trumped even his expectations, he said, praising the locals' hospitality in particular. "I believe Maribor is looking at a bright future ahead, in particular in terms of development of tourism and other activities.
Maribor Mayor Saša Arsenovič welcomed the new sports infrastructure that the city acquired for the event, which he said would serve both the local athletes as well as to organise major events.
"Maribor has become a part of the Olympic family, living up to Slovenia's reputation as an excellent host of major competitions, which may also give hope for a future Winter Olympics," he said.
Source: Slovenian Press Agency
Date: 31. July 2023
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