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The Adriatic-Ionian macro regional is starting to develop through the involvement of young people acting as ambassadors and through the universal language of sport
The first edition of “Adriatic and Ionian Macroregion Youth Games”, will take place in Ancona (Italy) from 6 to 8 June 2014. This very important event will promote youth participation and development through sports and competition as well as it will reinforce territorial cohesion.

The event is organized by the City of Ancona with the support of Marche Region and in collaboration with the Forum of Adriatic and Ionian Cities, the Regional School Authority Office for the Marche Region, CONI – Regional Committee Marche, Chamber of Commerce of Ancona, Italian Navy, the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative and the AICCRE( Italian Association of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions -CEMR).
About 1000 young people (15-16 years old), coming from 8 countries of Adriatic Ionian Macro Region will participate in this event. The participating countries, besides Italy, are Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia and Slovenia.
The athletes and other delegates from at least 20 cities all over the Macro region will attend the event. In fact, the Forum of Adriatic and Ionian Cities, actively involved in the operation, identified some leading cities among the members of its Steering Committee, such as Split, Mostar, Budva, Durres, Koper and Patras.

Young athletes will compete in twelve different sporting disciplines. Furthermore, this event will be also the opportunity for young people to meet for the first time like members of a community that is emerging, thanks to encouragement and commitment of many actors and particularly of Marche Region.
In fact, the Adriatic Ionian Macro region will be definitively approved before the end of 2014. It will coincide with the semester of Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU). After the approval, new

projects will be launched in order to enhance economic and social growth and to strengthen territorial cohesion of all countries that are part of the Macroregion.

“Adriatic and Ionian Macroregion Youth Games” is a bottom-up initiative that aims, through sport activities, to increase awareness and sense of belonging of citizens (young and students), of sport associations and of local authorities (cities, school institutions) to the future Adriatic Ionian Community. Furthermore, the aim of this initiative is to identify good practice to be implemented every year in different member states of Macroregion.

It will surely be a great sporting event, corresponding to mini-Olympics games for youth, organized in collaboration with CONI- Regional Committee Marche. Each of twelve sporting disciplines will have their own tournament. Those disciplines were selected by favouring team sports mostly practiced in the countries involved in the initiative. The sports delegations of each participating country can take part in all or only in some sports.

Nevertheless, the Youth Games are also an opportunity for gathering: all young athletes and other participants will eat in a large marquee that will be appositely set up in Piazza Cavour. They will sleep all together in modern Sports Halls such as Palaindoor and Palasherma. The Regional and Municipal Civil protection Departments are involved into the development of logistics plan.

There are many events programmed during the Games, including entertainment and socializing. Thanks to the Regional School Authority Office, a large number of students, coming all over the Marche Region, will be actively involved in welcome events and animation of participants, and therefore into the building of a pathway to an European Citizenship.

The organization of this event has been made possible thanks to the institutions’, schools’ and sports committees’ enthusiasm and involvement, as well as to the generous private sponsors’ participation. Special thanks goes to following shipping companies: to Adriaferries that provided with free travel all young people coming from Albania; to Jadrolinija, SNAV, Minoan Lines and Superfast Ferries companies that provided with discounted rates all participants. In a period of economic difficulties for all countries, the involvement and support of the above-mentioned actors has ensured the overall organization and therefore the participation of young people in this playful but also educational event.

Source:  Press release 

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