The 25th Plasma Youth Sports Games in Split on Friday brought together many international sports stars and officials who came to congratulate the largest amateur sports event in Europe on this great jubilee, reports Dalmacija Danas.
The program began with a solemn ceremony at the Croatian Home in Split, which brought together longtime partners, friends, and ambassadors of the Games.
The international sports stars were led by Luis Figo, who arrived in the company of Zvonimir Boban, Maxwell Andrade, Hierro, Malouda, Darijo Srna, and Predrag Mijatović.
Miroslav Lelas / PIXSELL
Special awards for long-term support and cooperation were given to Zoran Mamić, Tommy doo Supervisory Board Presiden, Zoran Bogdanović, Chief Executive Officer of Coca-Cola HBC on behalf of the Coca-Cola partner of the ceremony, Predrag Mijatović, Ambassador of Plasma Youth Sports Games, Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Budget and Administration for the 2020 Ambassador of the Year, and Alexander Ceferin for 2021 Ambassador of the Year.
“Sport connects, sport is love, sport is unique, sport earns the respect of all people, so a big tribute to everything that the Plasma Youth Sports Games do. As long as I am the president of UEFA and the UEFA Children’s Foundation, I will fully support the work of the Games within my capabilities,” said Čeferin.
The stars were greeted by Ivica Puljak, Mayor of Split, and Davor Božinović, Croatia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister. Members of the Ministry of the Interior, in cooperation with the Plasma Youth Sports Games, have been conducting a large educational campaign “Be a fan, not a breaker”, which aims to prevent violence on sports fields. In addition, they jointly implemented the National Road Safety Program.
“This is a great event, dedicated to the great idea and vision of young people, who are still young even after 25 years. Youth sports games have given a new dimension to sports in Split and sports in Croatia. In these challenging times, it is important to care for children and separate them as much as possible from mobile phones and computers so that they can fully accept healthy lifestyles,” said Davor Božinović.
Miroslav Lelas / PIXSELL
In his emotional speech, Zdravko Marić, President of Plasma Youth Sports Games, thanked everyone who gave their all to the success of the Games and pointed out: “We try to add up, try to summarize a quarter of a century in some statistics to describe well how we grew, how we expanded, how we did not give up. We have been promoting tolerance, friendship, solidarity, and fair play for a quarter of a century and we hope that in these 25 years we have woven exactly these values into many generations of our children and youth in Croatia and the region.”
Zlatko Dalić, Stipe Pletikosa, and Marijan Kustić, HNS president, but also famous citizens of Split – Gibonni and Tonci Huljić, and guests from Serbia led by Vanja Udovičić, Serbian Minister of Youth and Sports, were also at the ceremony.
After the festive program, the guests hurried to change into jerseys as Prokurative transformed to host a football spectacle at 8 pm: revival matches featuring participants in the international finals of the Plasma Youth Sports Games from Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina against world sports stars and friends of the Games.
Tihomir Gudić, executive director of Plasma Youth Sports Games, celebrated football player Igor Tudor, and Igor Angelovski coached the young athletes. The star team was led by coaches Zdravko Marić, Martina Dalić, and Davor Božinović.
Fulfilling the dream of playing with your idols was the biggest reward for the excited little footballers who seriously impressed Figo, Srna, Stanić, Boban, and other stars. That this would be a serious football clash was also clear with the arrival of Robert Rosetti, a world-famous football coach. The fan atmosphere, which has not been seen for a long time at a sporting event, was heightened by the victory of young athletes against world stars. Prokurative turned into a spectacular football field thanks to Green Luxury. The match could be watched live by the citizens of Split and guests of the city in the fan zone on the Riva, where the real fan atmosphere was provided by Indira.
Miroslav Lelas / PIXSELL
The closing ceremony was held on the Riva, where Alexander Čeferin, Predrag Mijatovic, and Johannes Hahn presented awards to young ambassadors from Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The young athletes and guests were greeted by Ivica Puljak, Mayor of Split, Tomislav Družak, State Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Nikola Brnjac, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Zdravko Marić, and Davor Božinović, who closed the 25th season of the Games. Before the celebration, congratulations were sent by video from many athletes: Luka Modrić, Goran Ivanišević, Slaven Bilić, Edin Džeko, Dragan Stojković Piksi, and many others, regretting that they failed to attend the celebration.
The beautiful night in Split ended with a big fireworks display and a concert by Sergej Ćetković.
As part of the International Finals in Split from August 17-21, as part of the implementation of the Youth Sports Fair Chance project, games were held with the participation of students and teachers from Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Infographics created during the implementation of the project on the fight against violence, racism, discrimination, and intolerance in sports were presented, and panel discussions and sports activities for children were organized.
The Youth Sports Fair Chance project is co-financed by the Erasmus + program of the European Union, and the total value of the project is 365,525.00 euros. The project was also presented at a ceremony at the Croatian Home.
Plasma Youth Sports Games are the largest amateur sports event in Europe and in its 25 years of existence have gathered more than 2 million children and youth athletes. Every year from January to August they organize sports competitions in 10 sports (Tommy tournament in indoor soccer 2009, Coca-Cola Cup in football, HEP handball tournament, Croatian Post Cup tennis tournament, Kinder tournament in street basketball, beach volleyball, volleyball, chess under the auspices of FIDE, table tennis, dodge ball, and 60m race) and sports-educational event Telemach Sports Day.
To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.
To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.