Issue 4, 2015. August-September

   

EUROPEAN YOUTH OLYMPIC FESTIVAL 2015: A "HUGE EXPERIENCE" FOR GEORGIA

Georgia continued building its reputation as a destination for sporting events when it hosted its first major international sports festival, the European Youth Olympic Festival.

Nastia Ogandjanova

The European Youth Olympic Festival brought a reported 4,000 athletes from 50 countries to Tbilisi for a week of sporting events from July 26 to August 1.

While Georgia's athletes came in 10th with ten medals - Russia came in first with 37 medals - the country has won "a lasting legacy," Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said during the closing ceremony.

He stressed that the festival was a "huge experience" for Georgia and one more step for the country on its path to European integration.

Olympic Committee Member Rezav Chomakhidze told Investor.ge that the festival will have a long- lasting impact on the city, especially in terms of increasing public interest in sports.

"Our citizens will watch new achievements by the athletes, new records and medals. They will see how sports make people physically and mentally healthy, how the country respects champions," he said.

"This will stimulate the youth to follow different types of sport. Also there is a tremendous tourist effect."

Athletes competed in nine sports, including basketball, cycling, handball, judo, swimming, tennis, and volleyball.

The festival cost 79 million lari (since 2012) to organize, Civil.ge reported, quoting information provided by Tbilisi City Hall.

All but ten million lari was spent on infrastructure for the sporting events, Civil.ge quoted Alexi Akhvlediani, the chairperson of the festival's organization committee, as saying.

Apartments in the Olympic City, a new development in Tbilisi's Varketilisuburb, that housed the athletes will be given to 600 internally displaced families.