The European Youth Olympic Festival 2015 has begun in Georgia’s capital city Tbilisi with a opening ceremony yesterday.
Musicians and drummers opened the introductory part of the festival – the largest sporting event ever hosted by Tbilisi – whilst the myth of Argonauts was performed. Paata Burchuladze, Irma Nioradze and other internationally famous Georgian artists gave performances.
Almost 4,000 young athletes from 49 countries participated in the last night’s ceremony. During the next six days of sporting competition, the young athletes will compete for medals in nine sports; artistic gymnastics, athletics, basketball, cycling, handball, judo, swimming, tennis and volleyball.
President of the European Olympic Committee Patrick Hickey and Chairman of Tbilisi 2015 Aleksi Akhvlediani welcomed the public while Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili announced the official opening of the festival.
Patrick Hickey- “The youth of Europe will light up Tbilisi and, after the Games, a substantial physical legacy of new sports facilities will remain”.
Aleksi Chikovani to participants: “Your participation here will become history for future generations, and for you it means a big step into the future”.
Once the swearing-in ceremony was over, an artistic performance followed, with illustrations from the Renaissance era, hundreds of dancers, aerial performance and a flawless recital by virtuoso pianists.
At the same time, the public had an opportunity to track the entrance of the Olympic flame into the stadium through the monitor installed in the stadium.
An aerial acrobat held up by a ‘heliosphere’ ascending out of the decorative mountain, handed the Olympic flame over to the Olympic champion, Gela Ketashvili. The final torch-bearer was also an Olympic champion, Zviad Zviadauri, who lit up the stadium’s Olympic flame.
Sportsmen from fifty countries will compete in 9 types of sport from July 27th until August 1st. Attendance of the event is free to the public.