Judoka Irakli Goginashvili and Road Cyclist Erin Boothman have been named as Team GB’s flagbearers for the Opening Ceremony of the Maribor 2023 European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) this evening (Sunday 23 July 2023).
Goginashvili and Boothman, both aged 16, were nominated by their sports and then selected by Georgina Harland, Team GB’s Chef de Mission for Maribor 2023, for showcasing that they are not only incredibly talented athletes, but also brilliant ambassadors for everything that we value at Team GB.
The Opening Ceremony will take place this evening, marking the beginning of the six-day multi-sport event. Eleven Olympic sports make up the programme in Slovenia: artistic gymnastics, athletics, handball, judo, road cycling, swimming, tennis and volleyball, with mountain bike, skateboarding and 3×3 basketball featuring for the first time at an EYOF.
Team GB will be represented in five sports: artistic gymnastics, judo, mountain bike, road cycling and swimming. The full Team GB squad can be found here along with more information about Maribor 2023.
Goginashvili, who is ranked world number six in his category (-66kg), said: “It feels really good to be selected. It will be great to carry the flag, but it’s also a huge honour to be given the opportunity to represent the whole team.
“It feels really special because very few people get this opportunity and I’m now one of the lucky ones.
“I never thought this was something that could happen to me. I feel so proud.”
Boothman, who begins her competition on Tuesday in the time trial, said: “It feels amazing to be selected as flagbearer because we have so many talented athletes in this team, so, I never thought I’d be nominated, let alone chosen.
“I feel so proud that I can do something like this to represent my sport and country.
“The cycling team did really well medal-wise at EYOF last year, but one of the cyclists, Finlay Tarling, also got to carry the flag. So, it’s brilliant to follow in his footsteps.”
Georgina Harland, Team GB’s Chef de Mission, said: “Ika and Erin should be extremely proud to be our flagbearers for tonight’s Opening Ceremony. Having spent time with them both, it’s clear they represent all that we aspire to be as a team in Maribor.
“I hope that they enjoy the experience because it is a special opportunity as an athlete to lead your country out at an Olympic event.
“The team arrived in Slovenia yesterday and have settled into the Athletes’ Village well. They are looking forward to tonight’s Ceremony and we all look forward to the sport starting tomorrow, in what we hope will be another great Youth Olympic Festival for Team GB.”