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From 14th to 19th of July the Dutch city of Utrecht will welcome XII Summer European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF).
Over 3,000 young athletes aged 13 to 18 from all over Europe will compete in 9 sports: athletics, basketball, cycling, handball, gymnastics, judo, swimming, tennis and volleyball.
60 Ukrainian athletes will participate in all sports except team sports.
It should be noted that during XI EYOF in 2011 in Trabzon our athletes won 15 medals and ranked 3rd among 49 participating countries.
EYOF is no different from the Olympic Games. Along with the Olympic atmosphere felt by the young athletes – starting from the uniform and ending with the award ceremony, EYOF has all traditional for the Games attributes – torch relay and the ceremony of lighting the Olympic flame, flag-raising ceremony, opening and closing ceremonies etc.
For reference in 1990 at the initiative of the IOC President Jacques Rogge, who at the time headed the European Olympic Committees, it was decided to hold biennial summer and winter European Youth Olympic days (EYOD), that is how the competitions were originally named. Today's official name is European Youth Olympic Festival and it has become the main starting point for young athletes of the continent.
Despite the fact that the festival has a short history it has managed to prove its relevance. Analyzing the competitors at EYOF, a tendency can be seen that the majority eventually join National teams and then successfully perform at the Olympic Games and other international competitions.
Among many who have participated in EYOF in the past are: four-time Olympic champion in swimming Yana Klochkova (Ukraine), three-time Olympic champion Pieter van den Hoogenband (Netherlands), two-time Olympic champion in ski racing Kristina Šmigun-Vähi (Estonia), Olympic champions in athletics Gabriela Szabó (Romania), Carolina Klüft (Sweden), in tennis Justine Henin-Hardenne (Belgium), multiple Olympic medalist Evgenia Radanova (Bulgaria), and many others.