Bosnia and Herzegovina preparing bid to host Youth Olympic Games

Bosnia and Herzegovina has begun preparing a bid to host the Youth Olympic Games, the national Olympic Committee (OKBIH) announced Saturday.

IOC President Thomas Bach addresses Olympic Committee of Bosnia and Herzegovina with video message on the occasion of its 30th anniversary last week (Photo: OKBIH)
IOC President Thomas Bach addresses Olympic Committee of Bosnia and Herzegovina with video message on the occasion of its 30th anniversary last week (Photo: OKBIH)

OKBIH President Izet Rađo revealed plans during the organization’s 30th anniversary celebration held in Sarajevo that was attended by leaders of the European Olympic Committees, national Olympic committees from the surrounding area, athletes and politicians.

“The Olympic Committee believes in the commitment of the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina to support us in this exceptional idea, with our gratitude and wish that everyone tonight keeps this belief in themselves and strengthens that belief in the days ahead.”

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach sent a video message credited the nation’s athletes for putting Bosnia and Herzegovina on the world sports map.

Founder of the OKBIH, Ahmed Karabegović, told the gathering “Sarajevo is the only city in the Balkans whose citizens had the honor of welcoming the Olympic flame twice.”

“The number of citizens present at the [European Youth Olympics Festival] opening ceremony speaks of the fact that the Olympic spirit is still present in this city, believing that the generations that will come after us will make an effort to once again host Sarajevo and its citizens and for the third time welcome the Olympic flame in their city.”

Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympics in 1984 when part of the former Yugoslavia. As capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the city staged the European Youth Olympics Festival (EYOF) in 2019.

President of the European Olympic Committees, Spyros Capralos said the EYOF in 2019 was symbolic of sport bringing peace and unity. He added “Bosnia and Herzegovina helped us convey that strong message to the world.”

One of the nation’s most prolific Olympians, middle distance runner Amel Tuka, spoke of the importance of sport to his country and the world.

“Sport is useful and necessary. Sport is noble. Sport unites, unites and inspires,” he said.

The Youth Olympics (YOG) were launched in Singapore in 2010, followed by Nanjing in 2014 and Buenos Aires in 2018. The Winter edition was staged in Innsbruck in 2012, Lillehammer in 2016 and Lausanne in 2020.

Dakar, Senegal is set to host the next Summer YOG in 2026 after the COVID-19 pandemic forced postponement from 2022. Gangwon in South Korea will stage the Winter YOG in January (2024).

The OKBIH did not specify which edition it will pursue. The IOC is currently in ongoing discussions with Italy to host the next available Winter Games in 2028. Cambodia has expressed interest in staging the next Summer Games planned for 2030.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.

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