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 A fabulous week of sport at the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) saw Maribor prove itself as an outstanding host of multi-sport games.

Excellent organisation throughout in Slovenia provided the perfect platform for Europe’s best young athletes to perform to the best of their abilities.

During the week, EYOF records were broken 25 times with 21 new Festival records in total. The highlight of these being on Day One when Türkiye’s Emir Batur Albayrak smashed the previous boys’ 400m freestyle record, before fellow countryman Kuzey Tuncelli broke the boys’ 1500m freestyle record on his way to a gold medal the following day. Both have achieved the Olympic qualifying time in the 1500 freestyle ahead of Paris 2024 next year.

There were many other records broken in both the pool and at the athletics. Ylann Bizasene won gold in the boys’ 100m final, after setting a new EYOF record of 10.44 in his heat earlier in the week.

The Italian team topped the medal table with a total of 16 gold medals and 46 in total – Germany in second place won 11 gold medals and 31 in total.

There were 68 athletes who returned home with more than one medal and it was an Italian who topped this list, swimmer Daniele Del Signore won six gold medals in the pool with a string of impressive performances. Germany’s Helen Kevric won three golds and three silvers in the artistic gymnastics, where Italian duo Tommaso Brugnami and Sara Caputo also won three gold medals and one silver respectively.

There were many other standout performances of the week. Great Britain’s Max Hinds showed bravery and commitment with his 48-kilometre solo breakaway in the boys’ road race, while Slovenia’s gold medal in the girls’ volleyball tournament was celebrated wildly.

These wonderful performances were also witnessed by a multi-national audience. All the competitive action was live streamed on EOC TV and more than one million viewers watched the stream, smashing the previous record for EYOF viewing figures.

There is no doubt the exciting new sport disciplines added to the programme in Maribor encouraged the growth in stream figures. The wet weather led for incredibly tough and muddy conditions for the mountain biking, while the skateboarding proved popular with the younger generations and the city centre location for the 3×3 basketball ensured an incredible atmosphere and made the action accessible to all.

After being introduced at the European Games in Krakow and the Malopolska region of Poland earlier this summer athletes, National Olympic Committees and European Federations were once again offered the opportunity to download personalised highlight clips from competition to post on social media. Over 3,000 clips were generated by digital technology partner ATOS and 90% of these were downloaded daily. This additional content supported the growth of the EOCs own social media channels, which reached around 27 million users across the week.

ATOS also provided online diplomas for all competing athletes to download, using blockchain technology, which will offer them a lasting reminder of their time in Maribor.

One of the many special elements of the EYOFs off the field of play is the importance of education and learning about Olympism and the Olympic values and the European Young Olympic Ambassadors prepared and delivered their fantastic activities spreading messages of excellent, friendship and respect.

Reflecting on Maribor 2023, European Olympic Committees (EOC) President Spyros Capralos said: “Maribor put on a memorable event and the athletes gave some incredible performances. Streaming figures for the event have been fantastic and I am incredibly proud of the innovations the EOC are bringing to our sporting events, including the highlight clippings for social media which have been widely downloaded by athletes.

“The EYOFs are a breeding ground for Olympic Champions, 54 EYOF gold medallists have gone on to become Olympic Champions in their disciplines and after the impressive performances I have no doubt we will be seeing some of these athletes achieve great things at Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028.

“The organisation was excellent, and we have to thank the EU for supporting the volunteer programme with funding of 450,000 euros.”

As the Flame of Peace extinguished in Maribor, the EOC flag was handed over to the city of Skopje in North Macedonia which will host the event in 2025 when more young athletes will get the opportunity to compete and be Ready to Shine.

Source: EOPC. To read the entire original article with links to all news of the week CLICK HERE

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