For the past month, the city of Split has been living in the spirit of sports and Plazma Youth Sports Games.
After the city was the host of the national final, the international final of this event followed, which gathered more than 1000 participants from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.
Plazma Youth Sports Games, the largest amateur sports event in Europe, brought the curtain down on another successful season with the international final held in the period from August 16 to 20. After eight months of sports and educational-entertainment activities in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, national winners in ten sports disciplines qualified for the international finals. The finals in Split is a great opportunity for the little ones to get to know each other, socialize, have fun and represent their countries in the right way. With this year's number of around 230,000 participants in three countries, the Plazma Youth Sports Games broke last year's record.
After three days of competitions within the framework of the international final, the Games received regional winners - medal winners in: Coca-Cola Cup in indoor soccer for boys and girls, Tommy tournament in indoor soccer for boys 2011, HEP tournament in handball, Kinder Joy of moving tournament in basketball, the Telemach tournament in hurdles and 60 meters running, Hrvatska pošta tournament in tennis (the Croatian Post), as well as tournaments in volleyball, beach volleyball, chess and table tennis.
The two-hour program on Friday on the Riva began with tug-of-war competitions and on the "Zero waste - Be part of the game - Let's save our planet" training ground. Namely, for several years now, the show competition of the countries in tug of war causes a lot of laughs and provides good entertainment, both for those who represent the countries, and for those who cheer for their colleagues and guests. It was not much different at the "Zero waste - be part of the Game - Let's protect our planet" training ground, where children learned about the importance of recycling and environmental protection throughout this season. The children were joined in the show competitions by the YSG mascot Viktor and Podravka's teddy bear Lino.
The Regional President of Plazma Youth Sports Games, Zdravko Marić, in his welcoming speech, pointed out that he is particularly proud of the fact that the number of participants in the competition in all three countries is growing every year.
- The greatest greeting and applause always goes to the children, who register in increasing numbers every year. Thank you for always showing us all how much you can do, not only in the competitive part, but for sending a wonderful message throughout the region with your behavior, respect for each other and socializing. Thanks also go to all our sponsors and partners, who have been with us for years and they have done their best to provide everything free of charge to the participants, at all levels of the competition. - said Zdravko Marić.
To the delight of all the little ones, the ambassadors of the Games - famous athletes from the region: Luka Modrić, Nemanja Matić, Edin Džeko, Domagoj Duvnjak, Tomislav Zubčić and Benjamin Burić sent greeting messages via video link. Apart from the athletes, all the little ones were happy to hang out and take photos with Viktor.
As it all started back in 1996 in Split, socializing with representatives of the authorities of the City of Split and the Split-Dalmatia County is an indispensable part of every final of the Games. The children and all the guests were greeted by the mayor of Split, Ivica Puljak.
- I hope that you all had a great time in our city and that, in addition to sports competitions, you also made new friends. Split and Croatia have many athletes and I hope that you find role models in them, not only in sports, but also in human terms. Once again, I thank and congratulate the organizers, and I wish you all to feel comfortable in Split and to see you again next year - the first man of Split said.
Ognian Zlatev, representative of the European Commission in the Republic of Croatia, Tomislav Družak, State Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Croatia, as well as Željko Jovanović, advisor for sports and envoy of the President of the Republic of Croatia, addressed the audience. This year's Games season was closed with address by the Vice President of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, Anja Šimpraga, who greeted all those present personally and on behalf of the President of the Government of the Republic of Croatia.
- I congratulate you on 26 years of persistence, work and everything else that you do well in Split and in all three countries. You are actually the best ambassadors for the promotion of tolerance and understanding, you are building the future and you are the greatest strength of our society - said the Deputy Prime Minister.
The Plazma Flame of the Youth Sports Games was carried throughout the year through all the cities and places where the competitions took place throughout the region, and with the joint extinguishing at the end of the ceremony and spectacular fireworks, this year's Games season was officially closed. After the closing ceremony, Luka Nižetić entertained all the gathered young athletes, guests and residents of Split with his hits and good energy.