EOC President Janez Kocijančič claimed the EYOF was an investment in youth ©EYOF 2019

European Olympic Committees (EOC) President Janez Kocijančič expressed his confidence in organisers and stated the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) was an investment in youth as the winter version of the event began in Sarajevo and East Sarajevo.

An Opening Ceremony took place at the Koševo Olympic Stadium today, which opened the 1984 Winter Olympics and was renovated in 1998 following the end of the Bosnian War.

Athletes from 46 of the 50 European National Olympic Committees competing participated in the Ceremony.

They were led out into the stadium by their chosen flagbearer.

The EYOF was officially opened by Milorad Dodik, President of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

A total of 1,600 athletes are expected to compete at the EYOF, with the winter multi-sport event taking place at sport arenas and mountains in the two cities.

Prior to the Ceremony, Kocijančič suggested the EYOF could provide a platform for young athletes as they begin their sporting careers.

"We see the EYOF as an investment in Europe," he said.

"Europe makes up about 10 per cent of the world's population and we win over 50 per cent of the medals at the summer Olympic Games and over 70 per cent in winter.

"We want to protect this achievement and ensure that it continues.

"This is why we invest in the youth of Europe."

The winter EYOF will be followed later in the year by the summer version, which will take place in Azerbaijan's capital city Baku.

Competition in Sarajevo and East Sarajevo will begin tomorrow, with the festival set to take place until Friday (February 15).

Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing and figure skating will be held at the EYOF, along with ice hockey, short track speed skating, snowboarding and curling.

Medals will be won in Alpine and cross-country skiing tomorrow, along with short track speed skating.

Action will take place in curling and ice hockey, as well as the early stages of snowboarding competition.

The Closing Ceremony will be held in the administrative centre of East Sarajevo City, with the event free to attend.