26 July 2023


European Youth Olympic Festival 2023

The European Youth Olympic Festival is an unforgettable experience for every participant, from athletes, coaches, parents, delegates to the volunteers. Maribor, a city with a big sporting heart, is proud that during the European Youth Olympic Festival the city will live in the Olympic spirit. This provided an opportunity for athletes from 48 countries and visitors to unite in a unique event, strengthening the values of fair play, friendship and tolerance. With an exceptional sports programme and attractive accompanying events, we witness unforgettable moments that will enter the history of the city and the hearts of all participants. During the Olympic Festival, the mayor of the city of Maribor, Aleksander Saša ARSENOVIČ, who was once an athlete (tennis) decided to visit the judo competition and explained to us how important this event is to the city and to him personally.

Dr László TÓTH, Aleksander Saša ARSENOVIČ © Gabi Juan

This means a lot for us, we have learned a lot along the way that we have reached a situation where we can now enjoy the knowledge of all athletes. The preparation lasted two and a half years, as Maribor we were one of the three most important links, with all our companies and the knowledge we have for the organization of major sports preparations. The European Olympic Committees and the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, which helped us along the way, today we are all here because of the children, because of respect for diversity, friendship, volunteers, the most I expect from that is the positive energy that is already in the city because of all those athletes, that they will stay a lot of knowledge in the city. I hope that all those athletes, coaches, parents, delegates will take away nice memories from Maribor and that they will return to Maribor and to Slovenia. As well that we will learn from this to deal more with the organization of other events, that we will do everything that we have been building in recent years, very quickly and a lot, that we will use sports and cultural assets in different ways to help the economy.

It is said that Arsenović is one of the main reasons that the EYOF is happening in Maribor, and not in another city in Slovenia, hearing that he is involved in the organisation down to the smallest details, such as the transportation of participants.

Dr László TÓTH, Aleksander Saša ARSENOVIČ © Gabi Juan

It’s one thing that politicians tell each other that everything is fine, I was interested in first-hand information, whether that’s true. That’s why I said first that I’ll be the driver, under condition that no one says who the driver really is. I had the same questions for everyone, what was the food like, what was the accommodation like, how did you get there, what was the transfer like. So all those basic questions or facts that are important to athletes because I was an athlete myself, so I know what is important to ensure that you can focus on performance and results. I was glad that I had this information that athletes are provided with everything they need for a performance in Maribor. And there were also some interesting stories, because no one expected that they would be driven by the mayor of Maribor. I know that during these days I met some little stars who will one day be great athletes and probably Olympic winners.

Author: Mario Krvavac