Poland's four-time Olympic champion Robert Korzeniowski, centre, has been named Mayor of the Athletes' Village for the European Games at its official opening ©Kraków-Małopolska 2023

The Athletes' Village for this year's European Games in Kraków-Małopolska has officially opened its doors here, with Poland's four-time Olympic race walking gold medallist Robert Korzeniowski receiving the symbolic keys and becoming its Mayor and caretaker.

The AGH University of Science and Technology campus in Kraków is set to house 3,500 athletes from 48 countries during the 12-day multi-sport event, due to start here on Wednesday (June 21).

Some athletes have arrived already, with the largest group expected to arrive on Thursday (June 22), the day after the Opening Ceremony.

Chair of the European Olympic Committees' (EOC) Kraków-Małopolska 2023 European Games Coordination Commission chair Hasan Arat was joined on stage by Korzeniowski and Organising Committee President Marcin Nowak for the unveiling of the Village.

"This Village is the heart of the European Games," Arat said.

"And there are no Games without the volunteers, whom I would like to thank sincerely for all the work they put into this event.

"Enjoy this coming time, which will undoubtedly be fantastic."

The first athletes have arrived at the Village for the European Games in Kraków, based at the AGH University of Science and Technology campus in Kraków ©Kraków-Małopolska 2023
The first athletes have arrived at the Village for the European Games in Kraków, based at the AGH University of Science and Technology campus in Kraków ©Kraków-Małopolska 2023

Arat appointed Korzeniowski as the Mayor of the Athletes' Village.

Korzeniowski won four Olympic race-walking gold medals at three Games, including the 50 kilometres at Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.

He completed the double at Sydney by also winning the 20km walk.

Korzeniowski also won the 50km walk in three World Championships, at Athens in 1997, Edmonton in 2001 and Paris in 2003. 

He has played a prominent role in the build-up to Poland staging the third edition of the European Games in Kraków and the wider Małopolska region, including attending the Flame of Peace Lighting Ceremony in Rome in April.

Korzeniowski spoke highly of the facilities on offer for athletes at the Village.

"This is a real honour for me, I am extremely happy to be here with you, and I hope that this key will also be the key to your hearts," he said.

"I already live in the Village and remain at your disposal.

"I hope you will enjoy all the available services that we have been able to provide with the help of the EOC.

"Every day, concerts await you, you can use the Studio Club, monitors with reports from all the arenas of the Games, relaxation areas, a swimming pool, sauna, as well as religious spaces dedicated to various faiths.

"An absolute novelty is also access to personalised videos of each athlete, which they can share on their social media channels."

Nowak also took the opportunity to welcome athletes to the European Games.

"Dear friends, welcome to Poland, to Kraków - one of the most beautiful places in our country, of historical importance," he said.

"You have an amazing time ahead of you - enjoy it, enjoy the competitions, win medals.

"Thank you for being with us, I wish you all the best."

Rugby sevens, fencing, padel, teqball, 3x3 basketball, canoe slalom and sprint, modern pentathlon, table tennis, triathlon and archery are all due to be held in Kraków during the Games.

A further 12 host cities are being used across the Małopolska region, with approximately 7,000 athletes competing in total in 26 sports.