Pordenone welcomed the arrival of the flame, an iconic symbol of peace and sporting values of the 16th Winter Sports, Snow and Ice edition of the EYOF2023 FVG, in the best possible way. On a Saturday afternoon, in the midst of the Christmas atmosphere, the torch relay, a metaphor for Olympic values and a symbol of the ability to bring together people of different nations, cultures, languages and traditions in the name of sport, was accompanied in the city centre by a crowd that filled Piazza XX Settembre and the shopping streets.
The Pordenone area will be one of the event clusters. The Claut ice rink will host the curling tournament from 21 to 27 January with the best national teams from the European continent. The locality of Valcellina confirms itself as one of the home regions of sport, where the first federal centre in Italian history operates.
Piancavallo, on the other hand, will be the venue for the snowboard competitions (Alpine and Cross). The mountain resort in the Aviano area has already successfully hosted major events for this discipline in recent years, such as the Absolute Italian Championships and the World Cup.
Today, 17 December, we received an exceptional welcome from the city of Pordenone, said the president of the EYOF2023 FVG Organising Committee, Maurizio Dunnhofer. It is this atmosphere of enthusiasm and passion we expect to find at all 12 venues in just over a month’s time. In addition to the city and regional authorities present , Dunnhofer continued, I would like to thank in particular the various ski clubs and sports associations in the Pordenone region who have helped us organise today’s stage and who will be one of the strengths of our organisation in Piancavallo and Claut during the event. Volunteers who will once again demonstrate their skills, dedication and passion for winter sports.
On the ‘Io sono Friuli Venezia Giulia’ (I am Friuli Venezia Giulia) lorry, placed in front of the Verdi Theatre, Mayor Alessandro Ciriani recalled in his speech Pordenone’s long tradition of excellence in sport thanks to the synergy between the public administration, sports clubs and voluntary commitment. Demonstrating this, multiple Paralympic table tennis world champion Giada Rossi is here with us this evening, stressed Ciriani.
Sport councillor Walter De Bortoli, echoingthe concept of the first citizen, extolled EYOF2023 precisely because it is an event dedicated to young people.
The mayor of Claut, Gionata Sturam, and the councillor for sport and tourism of Aviano, Andrea Menegoz, agreed on the importance of working as a system both locally and regionally in order to be able to grow and develop the mountain resorts of the right bank of the Tagliamento and Valcellina. Events like the EYOF2023 are a showcase for all our communities to continue investing in for the foreseeable future, Sturam said.
Marinella Ambrosio, representing CONI, expressed her conviction that the European Youth Olympic Festival could further strengthen the link between sport, youth and the future. Bringing together so many young people from 47 countriesinsuch a large and important international event is the best message one can send to civil society, she said. Thousands of Ambassadors coming together to compete competitively but also to establish new friendships in respect and inclusion.
Regional Councillor for the Mountains Stefano Zannier recalled the strong will of the regional administration to include the whole of Friuli Venezia Giulia and not just one or two localities. The effort is considerable, Zannier continued, but we are convinced that this format will pay off. I major events are, in fact, driving forces of the regional economy because tourism and food and wine are now closely linked in the promotion strategy of our region and its typical products, thanks to the ‘Io sono Fvg’ brand, which is proving to be very successful’.
The event ended with the lighting of the cauldron together with the official mascot, the marmot Kugy.
The EYOF2023 FVG, the multi-sport event for young people aged 14-18, is expected to attract 2,300 participants, including 1,300 athletes, from 47 European nations representing all National Olympic Committees, while 109 sports competitions are on the programme. The opening ceremony will take place in Trieste, in Piazza dell’Unità, on 21 January.