During July Split was the center of amateur sport in Croatia, where the best young athletes of primary and secondary school age from all over Croatia gathered as part of the state finals of the Plazma Youth Sports Games.
The state finals were played on sports fields throughout Split in seven sports disciplines: Coca-Cola Cup, chess, futsal for 2009, HEP handball tournament, Croatian Post Cup in tennis, Kinder tournament in basketball and volleyball.
Young athletes who qualified for the state finals through the system of qualification and county tournaments in their disciplines enjoyed spending time with their peers in Split. All activities within the Plazma Youth Sports Games are always completely free for children: from registration, tournaments, events, transportation and staying at state finals. Although the Games deal with amateur sports, all activities are done according to the standards of professional competitions which include professional sports fields, educated associates kinesiologists and physical education professors, professional judges, delegates and top event management.
Safety and health of children and youth are always in the first place for organisers so all competitions and children's stay in Split were organized in accordance with the instructions and measures of the Croatian Institute for public Health and National Crisis Headquarter of the Republic of Croatia.
All sports disciplines in the Games system record an increase in applications, and all sports are designed in such a way that even children who do not practice a particular sport can participate and try a particular sport. Many competitors have been participating in the Games for years and already in January they apply for the new season. The Dodgeball is the best example of the inclusion that Plazma Youth Sports Games promote as boys and girls play in mixed teams and thus strengthen awareness of equality through play and fun. The HEP handball tournament is an extremely strong tournament every year, while the Kinder basketball tournament brings together the best young basketball players in Croatia. Some competitors in the Croatian Post Cup in tennis even adjust their tournament schedule to the national finals because it is the best example of top sports conditions, and rest and fun for children. The most popular and most numerous sport in the world has its large base in Croatia. The Coca-Cola Cup is the largest futsal tournament that has been organized for the seventh year under the auspices of the Plazma Youth Sports Games, and this year more than 170 tournaments were played in 120 cities and towns in Croatia.
Plazma Youth Sports Games, in cooperation with UEFA, have great support from Aleksander Čeferin, the president of UEFA, who was proclaimed the ambassador of the Games in December last year. Education of children and youth is an important segment of the Games. This year, the Games continued their excellent cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior by conducting a joint campaign with the National Road Safety Program. In cooperation with UEFA, this year they launched a campaign to promote women's football, and at all events they regularly educate children about the importance of recycling and self-sustainability. Through the current project "Youth Sports Fair Chance" within the Erasmus + Sport program of the European Union in partnership with 6 countries, conducts education of physical education teachers and primary school children on the importance of proper cheering on sports fields, equality and combating discrimination. They also support local initiatives, so as a partner they are also involved in EU projects of local associations and cities.
Plazma Youth Sports Games are the largest amateur sports event in Europe and a kind of phenomenon that with its 24-year tradition testifies that good vision, systematic work and perseverance can overcome all challenges and create a unique brand recognized and supported by many world institutions, top athletes and officials, but also sponsors. Mateo Kedžo, captain of BC Split and Ivica Skelin, coach of BC Split, gave the medals in Split for the best players in the Kinder basketball tournament, and the young football player Tonio Teklić also cheered the competitors. The initiator of the project and president of the YSG, Mr. Zdravko Marić, pointed out: '' With a lot of luck and pride I can emphasize that I am very pleased that the season of Plazma Youth Sports Games has come to an end as far as Croatia is concerned. I am also happy and satisfied with the record number of children given the fact that we worked in these, I would dare to say, impossible conditions for the first time. I would like to thank all our sponsors, patrons, parents, leaders, coordinators, but also especially the children who came to the fields, played and performed with the greatest happiness. The Youth Sports Games in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia are still going on and we hope for an end there soon and looking forward to the great international final. "
Plazma Youth Sports Games have gathered more than 2 million children and youth in a 24-year tradition, and this year will again be a record number of participants with more than 70 000 competitors only in Croatia.
The closest organizational team of Plazma Youth Sports Games in Croatia consists of 13 associates and 700 coordinators and field leaders in the status of external associates who annually organize more than 250 qualifying tournaments in 10 sports, more than 30 one-day sports and educational events as part of the Tour of Joy, state finals in Savudrija and Split, the international finals in Split and the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games. The Games are currently active in 3 countries: Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, in whose systems more than 200 000 children and young people participate annually.
Exceptional energy and work invested in the work of the YSG were felt best these days in Split at the festival of sports and promotion of sports lifestyle through play and entertainment, a unique concept of this event that will soon end its 24th season.