The European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia will now take place from 24 to 30 July 2022 after being brought forward from next summer to avoid a clash with the rescheduled Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
The joint decision by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) and the Organising Committee for the 16th Summer EYOF follows the postponement of Tokyo 2020 to 23 July to 8 August 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Banská Bystrica EYOF was originally due to take place from 25 to 31 July 2021.
“The European Youth Olympic Festival is extremely important for the youth of Europe and we are very thankful to the organisers of Banská Bystrica 2021 and the government authorities in Slovakia for their flexibility and commitment to the festival,” said EOC Secretary General Raffaele Pagnozzi. “We are confident the EYOF will be a great success in Slovakia when they are eventually held and will act as a true celebration of youth and renewal following the coronavirus pandemic.”
The EYOF is the premier multi-sport competition for the best young athletes aged 14 to 18 in Europe. Some 3,000 athletes from all 50 European National Olympic Committees are expected to participate in 11 sports in Banská Bystrica.
“We did not consider cancelling the event at all, even though the global pandemic affected our preparations,” said Ján Nosko, Mayor of Banská Bystrica and Chairman of the Organizing Committee. “Banská Bystrica has gained another 12 months, granting us more time to prepare sports infrastructure and an excellent European Olympic Youth Festival. Our aim is to organise a compact event and have as many sports as possible in a relatively small area. Despite the current coronavirus crisis, we do not lack the will or motivation. We are looking forward to welcoming the sports family in Banská Bystrica in July 2022.”
The organisers are committed to making these EYOF a highly sustainable event. The majority of the venues exist already, and as many of the sports will take place inside one main sports cluster, transportation will not be necessary for the athletes or spectators.
Having hosted a winter edition of the EYOF in Poprad-Tatry in 1999, Slovakia is looking forward to welcoming the youth of Europe to Banská Bystrica in 2022 for the first summer EYOF in the country.
“The EYOF is a great opportunity for our country and Banská Bystrica to present ourselves, not only as good hosts but also as exceptional organisers,” said Anton Siekel, President of the Slovak Olympic and Sports Committee. “We do not want to miss this opportunity and I am convinced that we will use the trust we have gained and prepare one beautiful sport event. The EYOF will be a great festival in 2022, a celebration of sports. It will not be only about performance and competitiveness. We want to present the basic values of Olympism and healthy lifestyles to the young generation in Slovakia and all of Europe.”
The Slovak city of Banská Bystrica looks forward to welcoming Europe’s best young athletes to the 16th Summer EYOF in 2022.