When Serbia became part of the Youth Sports Games’ family in 2014...
Mon, 01. October 2018.
When Serbia became part of the Youth Sports Games’ family in 2014, the first city that understood the value, size and significance of our manifestation, which clearly recognized the direction in which the Games will develop in our country and the first city to receive the YSG wholeheartedly and with infinite confidence, allowing the energy of the Games to flow through its streets, was Sremska Mitrovica, led by the Mayor of that period Branislav Nedimović. We know how to value the hand of friendship offered to the Games and we are proud that Mr. Nedimović, presently Minister of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, is still our support and friend.
The synergy that arose five years ago has in time become so powerful that the buzz surrounding the Games in Mitrovica echoes over all 365 days of the year. And exactly because of this dedication and unconcealed love that the leaders of Sremska Mitrovica and all citizens of Mitrovica feel towards the Games and due to the fact that the fifth generation of children in this town has grown up participating in the Games, Sremska Mitrovica deservedly won the honour and privilege of hosting this year’s opening of the Youth Sports Games for the entire region.
Although the youngest, Serbia won the title of the best organized YSG member last year. Therefore, we have the privilege to host the opening of the regional Games this year and choose the city where the spectacle shall be organized.
Due to the trust, energy and excellent cooperation established, as well as the fact that Mitrovica provided its open arms to the Games when they were small and not so widely known in this area, by continuing to support the Games throughout all of these years, we pronounce with great joy and without any further consideration that we have unanimously decided that the host city shall be Sremska Mitrovica.
Aware of the fact that our great friends, people of word, trust and great heart, diligent and devoted, our Ilija and Nemanja, have with 101% of their efforts operatively implemented all activities envisaged together, we were certain that we would jointly organize a magnificent event.
Subsequently, the spectacle in Mitrovica on that occasion only confirmed that this decision was right! Never before in the past 22 years have the Youth Sports Games managed to gather over 10,000 people at the opening ceremony in one location. This information will surely remain in gold letters not only in the history of the YSG, but also in the history of sports organizations throughout the region.
Everything started with a fantastic parade from the famous sports hall “Pinki” to the central square. The river of children and young people swarming into the square left us breathless and these emotions cannot be described with words!
The opening ceremony was attended by senior state officials of the Republic of Serbia, numerous guests and sponsors. The opening of the Games, completely designed and implemented upon the model of the Olympic Games, impressed all who attended. An army of at least 300 volunteers from Mitrovica gave its best to ensure that every minute of the event was flawless and memorable.
After the intonation of the anthem of the Republic of Serbia, the audience was greeted by Vladimir Sanader, Mayor of Sremska Mitrovica, Miloš Kovačević, Advisor to the Minister in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Željko Tanasković, President of the Serbian School Sports Federation, Ivana Jovanović, YSG Serbia President and Zdravko Marić , Regional President and founder of the Youth Sports Games, who certainly felt the most proud among all of us on that day in Mitrovica. The opening was attended by Lazar Mirkić, Ambassador of Bosnia and Hercegovina to Serbia, Darko Stanić, State Secretary for Youth in the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Dragan Jeremić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Ilija Nedić, Head of the City Administration of Sremska Mitrovica in charge of education, culture and sport, Tihomir Gudić, YSG's Executive Director, Dario Kožul, Deputy Regional President of Youth Sports Games, Mirza Bašinac, YSG Bosnia and Hercegovina Vice President, Nemanja Crnić, Secretary General of the Sports Association of Sremska Mitrovica, Aleksandar Ružević, HBC Serbia General Manager, Ivan Prtorić, Director of “Podravka Srbija” company.
Young athlete Sara Kiš officially ignited the torch of friendship as she was showered by confetti and indescribable enthusiasm from those present, thus giving the sign for the beginning of the fifth Youth Sports Games in Serbia, the eighth in Bosnia and Herzegovina and twenty-second in Croatia, the country where the games were initially launched.
A phenomenal atmosphere prevailed in Mitrovica until the evening hours. And only when night fell over this town in Vojvodina - the city literally exploded with additional positive energy, love and joy. “Crvena jabuka” (Red Apple), a band that has marked this region and whose songs are sung from word to word even today by the youngest, took care of creating a great atmosphere. The Youth Sports Games of Serbia, the city of Sremska Mitrovica and the Sports Association of the City of Sremska Mitrovica jointly made sure that musical notes spiced up the event organized on 25 May.
The concert brought all the competitors, participants, friends and visitors to their feet. Official data confirms that this evening was enjoyed by an impressive 18,000 visitors, which means that only on that day a river of residents from Mitrovica and guests from other cities in Serbia and the region paraded through the centre of Srem. In addition to the strong emotions and enthusiasm that spread through the town on the Sava River, the ten-minute fireworks created a new eruption of excitement, because, according to older residents of Mitrovica, it was the most beautiful ever seen in that town.