EOC President Janez Kocijančič was present at the Baku 2019 European Youth Olympic Festival Shine Ceremony ©Baku 2019

The Flame of Peace for the Baku 2019 European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) was lit at a "Shine Ceremony" held at Ara Pacis Augustae in Rome.

The ceremony was held 100 days before the start of the Festival.

Representatives from the European Olympic Committees (EOC), the local Organising Committee for the EYOF and regional dignitaries were present.

In attendance was EOC President Janez Kocijančič, vice-president Niels Nygaard, secretary general Raffaele Pagnozzi and Executive Committee members Spyros Capralos, Zlatko Matesa, Djordje Visacki, and Liney Halldorsdottir.

“We are convinced that Baku 2019 will be one of the best, if not the best, European Olympic Festivals in history,” said Kocijančič. 

“There are not many nations in the world with such excellent infrastructure as Azerbaijan and we have already had great experiences in Baku, with a splendid first edition of the European Games and the Islamic Solidarity Games and F1, which I also attended, that were organised in a perfect way. 

"I expect this 15th edition of the EYOF to be the best yet.”

Present from the host country was the Youth and Sports Minister Azad Rahimov, who is also deputy chair of the Baku 2019 Organising Committee, and the vice-president of Azerbaijan's National Olympic Committee, Chingiz Huseynzada.

The Shine Ceremony was held at the Ara Pacis Augustae in Rome, a monument constructed to celebrate peace in the Roman empire ©Twitter
The Shine Ceremony was held at the Ara Pacis Augustae in Rome, a monument constructed to celebrate peace in the Roman empire ©Twitter

A number of Azerbaijani athletes attended, including greco-roman wrestling's Athens 2004 Olympic gold medallist Farid Mansurov, gold medal-winner at the 2016 Junior European Judo Cup Karamat Huseynov and 2018 Junior Azerbaijan Volleyball Championship gold medallist Raziya Aliyeva.

The ceremony was held in Ara Pacis because the monument was built by Emperor Augustus to celebrate peace throughout the Roman empire.

Giancarlo Giorgetti, Undersecretary of State to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and Carlo Mornati, secretary general of the Italian National Olympic Committee, were representing the Italian Government.

Baku 2019, the leading European multi-sport event for young athletes aged 14 to 18, will be held from July 21 to July 27 this year.

The seven days of competition will feature 10 sports at 12 competition venues, with wrestling joining the programme for the first time.

Around 3,600 athletes and team officials from all 50 ENOCs are expected to take part, assisted by 2,500 volunteers.