Following the grand opening of the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) on 24th July, Maribor hosted an exceptional weightlifting event the very next day, setting the stage for an exciting and innovative approach to the sport.

The bustling Main Square of Maribor transformed into a dynamic hub for weightlifting prowess as 16 athletes from 7 different countries competed fervently in both individual and team rankings. In a groundbreaking move for weightlifting, each team was uniquely composed of one girl and one boy from different nations, forming mixed international teams.

This historic shift in the team composition was met with overwhelming positivity from the athletes, attendees, and officials alike, manifesting in the palpable energy that filled the Square. The Director of the Local Organizing Committee of Maribor 2023 EYOF, and the General Secretary of the Slovenian Olympic committee were present to oversee this milestone event as well as the Hungarian NOC General Secretary,

Adding a delightful layer of entertainment to the proceedings, renowned Slovenian singer animated the crowd with their tunes, while the official mascot of the EYOF, the playful Foksi fox, continued its tradition of mingling with spectators, inducing laughter and cheer with its innocent pranks and jokes. The event truly came to life as spectators from all walks of life joined in unison to cheer on the participants.

In the face of rigorous competition, the athletes managed to not only showcase their physical strength and abilities but also establish bonds transcending geographical boundaries. The exceptional performances led to impressive sports results, underlining the high level of talent among Europe’s youth athletes. Yet, it was the budding friendships between participants that underscored the true spirit of EYOF.

The first-of-its-kind weightlifting event, held as a demonstration activity during EYOF, is a testament to the evolving nature of sport, its ability to break down barriers, and the power it holds to unite diverse individuals under a shared love of sportsmanship and fair play.

The success of this demonstration signals the dawn of a new era in weightlifting, setting the stage for a future where collaboration and unity take center stage. As the festival continues, the City of Maribor and the EYOF Organizing Committee are eager to unveil further initiatives and activities, continually reaffirming their commitment to innovation, inclusivity, and fostering a spirit of camaraderie among the next generation of Olympic hopefuls.

The EWF Seminar was also held with the intention of explaining technical rules to the young athletes directly, simulating technical mistakes on them during the lifts.

EWF is thankful to the Slovenian Weightlifting Federation, its President, Damjan Canzek, and General Secretary, Slavko Laljek, as well as other staff and volunteers involved in this magnificent outdoor sport event.


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