Györ 2017 have received the European Youth Olympic Festival Torch in Rome ©Györ 2017

The Torch which will be carried to the Opening Ceremony of Györ 2017 European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) was lit today in Rome.

It will now head to Pér Airport in Hungary tomorrow before a national tour starts on May 27.

Today, a ceremony entitled "Shine in the name of Peace" took place in the Italian capital city, with the European Olympic Committees (EOC), Hungarian Olympic Committee (HOC) and Györ 2017 stating it celebrated peace and unity.

The event took place at the Ara Pacis Museum – home to the ninth century Ara Pacis altar which is dedicated to peace.

“It is a great honour to have the privilege to stage the first official ceremony for the EYOF here in this amazing Roman temple dedicated to peace,” said Janez Kocijančič, EOC Acting President.

“Our basic idea was to bring together the ideas of peace and youth.

“Peace and the Olympic Values should be core attributes in young people and we need to do all we can to promote that.

“The EYOF was established by the former IOC President Jacques Rogge more than a quarter of a century ago as he recognised the importance of investing in youth.

“Europe is the leading continent in world sport but to maintain this we have to make sure we continue to invest time and resources in our young people.

“EYOF provides young people with invaluable experience to become the future glory of Europe.”

The Dea Pax Golden Olive Tree was also given to organisers as a symbol of peace ©Györ 2017
The Dea Pax Golden Olive Tree was also given to organisers as a symbol of peace ©Györ 2017

Kocijančič presented HOC President Krisztian Kulcsar with the Dea Pax Golden Olive Tree during the ceremony.

The tree was considered sacred by Dea Pax, the ancient Goddess of Peace, and the symbolic sculpture, made by the renowned sculptor and goldsmith, Nicola Amato, was designed in homage to these values.

The EYOF Torch was then passed from Kocijančič to Zsolt Borkai, Györ 2017 President, with the flame set to burn at the ETO FC Stadium throughout the festival.

“The EYOF can develop a generation who represent the future,” said Borkai, who is also the Mayor of Györ.

“In July, we could watch the future champions of Europe but even those athletes who do not achieve great success will become ambassadors of sport and healthy lifestyles.

“In July, we’d like to provide an outstanding and unforgettable experience for everyone.”

The milestone event was attended by up to 100 senior European delegates including President of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) Giovanni Malago, IOC member and EOC Honorary President Mario Pescante and EOC secretary general Raffaele Pagnozzi.

The ceremony concluded with the Musicanova choir performing a song composed for the EOC entitled ‘Shine’.

Competition will be held in 10 sports between July 23 and 30 this year.

A total of 3,000 athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 will compete in Győr.

A winter version of the EYOF has already been held this year, in Erzurum in Turkey in February.