The Flame for EYOF 2022 in Banská Bystrica is now en route for Slovakia ©ITG

Slovakia’s International Olympic Committee member Danka Barteková has called on Ukrainian athletes to "hold the flag high and bring some pride to their compatriots" when they compete in the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF 2022) in Banská Bystrica this July.

Barteková, a skeet shooting bronze medallist at London 2012 and four-time Olympian, is also an EYOF 2022 ambassador.

She is set to arrive in Bratislava with the "Flame of Peace" before a children's sports gala day tomorrow in the host city at the start of a journey of almost two months, leading to the Opening Ceremony on July 24.

"It is important to see the Ukrainian athletes compete and bring some pride to their countrymen and women, to the people of Ukraine to hold the flag high, to be there to remind the world that they are still able to train even if it is not at home, and it shows solidarity of the world to help them train and help them prepare for competitions," Barteková told insidethegames.

In March, the European Olympic Committees confirmed that it would enforce a ban on Russia and Belarus taking part in Banská Bystrica.

"I believe we all personally are not happy with the exclusion of the athletes but I think that we can completely understand it is a preventive measure and it is to protect the integrity of the competition which is important," Barteková admitted.

"Of course it is the younger generation and it is important to divide politics and sport, but at the same time we need to protect the integrity of competition and make sure it will go without incidents."

The Slovak Olympic Committee (SOC) is in close contact with the Ministry of the Interior and security departments over measures which might be needed as the EYOF 2022 draws near.

More than 446,000 refugees are thought to have already crossed into Slovakia from Ukraine.

Danka Barteková, second from left, is scheduled to be one of the first Torchbearers when the Flame reaches Slovakia tomorrow ©ITG
Danka Barteková, second from left, is scheduled to be one of the first Torchbearers when the Flame reaches Slovakia tomorrow ©ITG

“At the moment the situation in Slovakia is very calm, very stable so for the moment we will just observe but there are not any specific measures taken," SOC secretary general Jozef Liba told insidethegames.

"We hope it will stay like this even despite such a difficult and horrible situation just across the border."

Over the next two months, the Flame is scheduled to visit the 24 "Olympic Clubs" in Slovakia as it tours the host nation.

"It is not easy especially in these days, it is more important than at any time before to show and present that we are able to organise such a big sporting event that the EYOF is, so we will do the best that we can," SOC President Anton Siekel said.

"This is also very important for our country, we will present not only the Olympic Committee but all people in Slovakia."