Belgium Vies for Hosting Rights of the 2029 European Youth Olympic Festival

Sarhan Basem
credit: insidethegames

Brussels (Brussels Morning) – The Belgian Interfederal Olympic Committee (COIB) aims to host the 2029 European Olympic Youth Festival (EOYF), bringing the event “back to Belgium” after its debut in 1991. If successful, the event will showcase over 3,600 athletes across seven days.

The Belgian Interfederal Olympic Committee (COIB) has created a proposal to bring the European Olympic Youth Festival (EOYF) “back to Belgium” in 2029. The Olympic youth games for athletes aged between 14 and 18 were first scheduled in Brussels in 1991, and have since been held every two years in a separate city or region.

How Did Belgium’s Bid for EOYF 2029 Emerge?

The Flemish Government has supported a proposal from the COIB to host the festival in the 

region in five years. Jean-Michel Saive, president of COIB, stated it is “wonderful” that the Flemish Government believes in the project.

“It was one of our objectives, set with our board of directors, to bring the EOYF back to Belgium. This provides us with the chance to stage a significant multi-sport Olympic event in our country, geared towards our youth and shaped by Olympism and Olympic values,” he stated in a press statement.

The EOYF draws more than 3,600 athletes from 50 different nations to compete across seven days in July. The host nation can pick ten sports disciplines for the 2029 competition, eight of which must be Olympic sports, exiting the opportunity to platform two new or niche sports in the remaining slots.

What Vision Guides Belgium’s EOYF 2029 Proposal?

The COIB has stated that if its bid is successful, it will launch an organising committee to determine the host cities in Flanders, as well as details of the sports programme – in partnership with the Flemish Government, Sport Vlaanderen, and relevant federations.

The COIB’s chief executive, Cédric Van Branteghem, emphasised a “shared vision concentrated on young talents” with the Flemish Government and Sports Minister Ben Weyts (MR).

“We can ignite in our future generations the enthusiasm and the dream of an Olympic experience. Being able to build on the legacy of Jacques Rogge is an additional edge,” stated Mr Van Branteghem.

How Does Belgium Aim to Inspire Future Olympic Talents?

Understood as the Olympic Youth Days when it was first held in Brussels in 1991, the event was established under the guidance of Jacques Rogge, the then president of the European Olympic Committees. At the most current edition, held in Maribor, Slovenia, in July 2023, Belgium won four medals, including a gold won by Nafy Thiam in the shot put.

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Sarhan Basem is Brussels Morning's Senior Correspondent to the European Parliament. With a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, Sarhan brings a unique blend of linguistic finesse and analytical prowess to his reporting. Specializing in foreign affairs, human rights, civil liberties, and security issues, he delves deep into the intricacies of global politics to provide insightful commentary and in-depth coverage. Beyond the world of journalism, Sarhan is an avid traveler, exploring new cultures and cuisines, and enjoys unwinding with a good book or indulging in outdoor adventures whenever possible.