Bosnia will be hosting this year's biggest competition for young athletes in Europe - the European Youth Olympic Festival. The events will take place in the mountains where the 1984 Winter Olympics were held.

A clock counts down to the upcoming European Youth Olympic Winter Festival, in East Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina February 5, 2019.
A clock counts down to the upcoming European Youth Olympic Winter Festival, in East Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina February 5, 2019. (Reuters)

The Olympic spirit is back in Sarajevo after rival Bosnian ethnic elites set aside their differences to host the largest sport event in the country since the 1984 Winter Olympics and war of the 1990s.

Achieving that cooperation was not easy. Sarajevo belongs to the Bosniak-Croat Federation and East Sarajevo belongs to the Serb Republic, which are two autonomous regions of Bosnia carved along ethnic lines during the 1992-95 war in which 100,000 died.

The two cities missed out on staging the multi-event games in 2017 due to a lack of support from Bosnia’s multiple governments after winning the race to stage it in 2012.

But two young mayors were keen to promote their cities as winter sports and tourist destinations and threaded their way through the bear traps of daily politics to turn the youth winter festival into reality.

More than 6,000 people from both Bosnian regions are working together for the first time since the war for the five-day event.

More than 1,600 athletes from 46 European countries will be competing over the next week. The events will be on the mountains where the 1984 Winter Olympics were held.

TRT World's Faruk Chalook reports from Sarajevo.

Source: TRT World