Student Athletes Coming to Croatia
With the ceremonies starting the countdown to the European University Games in Zagreb and Rijeka, the organizers of the largest multi-sport event in recent Croatian history have symbolically marked the beginning of the final phase of preparations for the event, reports Index.hr on February 22, 2016.
There are only 143 days left until the opening of the Games, preparations are in full swing and
there is no doubt that we will witness a great two-week sporting event which will bring together more than 5,000 student-athletes from all over Europe and once again present Croatia to the world. Ban Jelačić Square in Zagreb and the area in front of the City Library in Rijeka now have new features which will remind all passers-by that the beginning of the Games is getting closer.
The honour of starting the countdown clocks in Zagreb was given to the Minister of Science, Education and Sports Predrag Šustar, Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić, Rector of the Zagreb University Damir Boras, envoy of the Croatian President Tomislav Madžar and President of the European University Games Zrinko Čustonja.
At the same time, the clock in Rijeka was started by Rijeka Mayor Vojko Obersnel, Vice-Rector of the Rijeka University Snježana Prljić Samardžija and Vice-President of the European University Games Haris Pavletić.
An important role at the ceremonies belonged to Hrki the Hamster, the official mascot of the Games, who was helped by many student volunteers who turned the square and streets into a big sports arena. The Games will be opened on 13 July and will include as many as 21 different sports.
The countdown clocks, shaped as the logo of the Games, will become an attraction in the two cities and a permanent reminder of this unique sporting event. The organizers have invited all interested citizens to get involved in the successful organization of the Games and have pointed out that volunteers can apply until 1 April. It is expected that up to 2,000 volunteers will be involved in the organization and implementation of the Games.
This is the second time that Croatia is hosting a major student sports event. In 1987, Zagreb was the host of the Universiade, the world university student games.