Youth Games seen to bridge wartime divide

DARIA SITO-SUCIC
Last updated 14:02 11/12/2012

Relevant offers

Other Sports

Beijing named as host city for 2022 Winter Olympics Live NZIHL: Canterbury Red Devils vs Botany Swarm Para-cyclist recovers from crash to grab silver at world champs in Switzerland Almaty upbeat despite losing Winter Olympics bid IOC in no mood for risks, opts for Beijing's sure bet Joseph Parker vs Bowie Tupou: Undercard throws up some interesting bouts Lindsey Vonn: Winter Olympics belong in America or Europe Wladimir Klitschko seeks Joseph Parker's help again to prepare for Tyson Fury fight Bowie Tupou's no footage policy is crazy, says Joseph Parker trainer Kevin Barry Marcia Petley ready for World Masters Athletics Championships in Lyon, France

A co-hosting of the European Youth Olympics by Bosnia's capital Sarajevo and a Serb-run former suburb should foster cooperation across former wartime front lines and help boost a struggling economy, municipal and sports officials said today.

Sarajevo and East Sarajevo won a joint bid at the weekend to hold the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival (EYOWF) in 2017, boosting hopes of rehabilitating negative images of ethnic division lingering from Bosnia's 1992-95 war and reviving the spirit of the 1984 Winter Olympics hosted by Sarajevo.

The Sarajevo Olympics were held when Bosnia was still part of federal Yugoslavia, which broke up violently two decades ago. Most Olympic facilities on nearby mountains were destroyed during the war but many have been rebuilt in recent years.

"It is a good news that we are going to unite again and enable young people to become part of Europe and return to sports (here)," said Izet Radjo, chairman of Bosnia's Olympic Committee.

The 1995 peace deal between Bosnia's Muslims, Serbs and Croats split the Balkan country into two autonomous regions, the Federation dominated by Croats and Muslims, who are also known as Bosniaks, and the Serb Republic dominated by Serbs.

Sarajevo, which survived a 43-month siege by separatist Bosnian Serb forces, was also reorganised along ethnic lines with a new East Sarajevo formed within Serb Republic territory.

The two entities have co-existed peacefully since the war ended, according to their mayors. They said an international sports event would not only thicken their ties but also improve trade and tourism in the economically depressed region.

"It means a lot," said East Sarajevo Mayor Vinko Radovanovic, "primarily to bring back the year of 1984 and the Olympic spirit that has been gradually fading away."

The youth Olympics event, expected to attract some 1,500 athletes from 49 European countries, is estimated to cost around 15 million euros ($19.39 million), including the reconstruction of some sports facilities.

Sarajevo Mayor Alija Behmen said the two autonomous governments and the Bosnian presidency, which have politically supported the event, were now expected to make concrete financial commitments to enable preparations to kick off.

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers
Opinion poll

Will Shane Cameron beat Kali Meehan on Saturday?

For sure. Cameron will knock him out.

It will be close but I think Cameron on points.

Meehan will knock him out. This is his last fight.

I'm tipping Meehan to win on points.

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content