Countdown: Only Half Year to go until the EYOF
Exciting 180 days ahead of us. While the construction of facilities is continuous and the planning and volunteer selection is proceeding, the Chefs de Mission of the 50 participating NOCs are going to visit Győr in April. Later the European Olympic Torch will arrive to Hungary before the EYOF Flame is lit at the Opening Ceremony on 23 July for the first time in the history of the country.
'When we were selected as the host city of the European Youth Olympic Festival in 2011, 2017 seemed to be very far away and today we are only half year ahead of the opening of the event'- said Zsolt Borkai, mayor of Győr. He also added, at that time they did not think Hungary will be at the doorstep of hosting the Olympic Games but today we know a successful EYOF, along with the FINA Aquatics World Championships hosted in Budapest, can as well boost the chance of hosting the Games.
In order for the event to be successful the Hungarian Government also contributes to the efforts by subsidising the construction of sport facilities and one of the Athletes' Villages with almost 21 billion Hungarian Forint. At the same time the municipality complements this by developing the infrastructure which not only serves the EYOF but also the inhabitants providing further possibilities of development to the town. The press conference took place in one of the already existing venues of the event, Audi Arena Győr, while some facilities are still under construction which will be ready by 31 May.
Mr Borkai also mentioned the organisation of the event which received positive feedback at the Coordination Commission visits. Good news is, all 50 NOCs officially confirmed their participation at the EYOF in Győr. Therefore, during the Chefs de Mission Seminar between 25-28 April, the organisers expect the representatives of the 50 countries to visit Győr, the venues, the villages, and submit their anthems and country flags, as well as consult about all important aspects of the event. For this occasion the Chefs de Mission Manual is going to be published in English which will consist of all important information for the participants about the EYOF 2017 in Győr. The EYOF in Hungary bears with high-priority sport diplomatically as well. The Evaluation Committee of the International Olympic Committee will also visit Hungary in May because of the Budapest 2024 Olympic Bid. Mr Borkai, who is also the President of the Hungarian Olympic Committee, added, that a successful Seminar in April would be an important step towards a positive evaluation of the Olympic Bid.
Between 22-24 May the Organising Committee of the EYOF is going to bring the European Olympic Flame from Rome, where the headquarters of the European Olympic Committees is seated. After the Flame Lightning Ceremony in Rome the Torch will arrive to the Győr-Pér International Airport, and then the country tour of the Torch will begin. After its arrival the Torch is going to travel around Hungary visiting bigger towns, historic sights, and tourist destinations, and will finally arrive back to Győr and tour around its region.
By the end of last year the volunteer application has ended and it was a success as more than 2350 applicants registered on the webpage. The Organising Committee will need around 1500 volunteers during the event, thus the selection has already started with group interviews. Most of applications arrived from within Hungary with 10 percent coming from abroad, from various age groups among whom a lady from Győr, who will turn 84, is the eldest.
Mr Borkai also spoke about the Opening Ceremony which will be hosted in ETO Park with an exciting and spectacular show. Parallel to the sporting events cultural programs will be showcasing the Hungarian culture and the values of the region at Dunakapu square. The host cities of the Torch Relay, Hungarian products, and the Hungarian Capital will be presented to the visitors.
Furthermore, the Sport Department of the Organising Committee is closely cooperating with the 10 National Federations of the EYOF sports. Test events are planned ahead of the Festival in each sport in order to get ready for the 'real deal'. The Mayor of Győr explained that the transportation of participants will be arranged with shuttle buses. He also added the event receives sponsorship from various socially responsible companies who are willing to share resources and in kind endorsements. Security is treated as high priority, while the catering and accommodation for 4000 delegates and the volunteers as well as other participants also requires high level of attention.
'3600 athletes from 50 countries are going to compete in Győr. Whole Europe will be watching us, therefore it is essential to prepare the best we can. The aim is for our visitors to spread the good reputation of our town.'- closed the press conference Mr Borkai.