Banská Bystrica is due to welcome around 3,600 athletes from 48 countries to the 2022 Summer European Youth Olympic Festival ©EOC

Banská Bystrica is set to welcome approximately 3,600 athletes aged 14 to 18 from 48 countries to the 2022 Summer European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF), set to run from tomorrow until July 30, making it the biggest multi-sport event in Slovakia since the 2015 Winter University Games.

The event, postponed by a year due to COVID-19, had a budget of €15.1 million (£12.8 million/$15.4 million) with the country's Government funding the majority of it with a €12.2 million (£10.3 million/$12.4 million) investment.

A programme of 10 sports - athletics, badminton, basketball, cycling, judo, handball, swimming, artistic gymnastics, tennis and volleyball - is spread out among five sub-sites including the main host.

Athletics, badminton, judo, swimming, tennis, artistic gymnastics, road cycling, and women's basketball are set to be held in Banská Bystrica while men's basketball is due to be held in Badín, with men's handball in Zvolen, and women's handball in Detva.

The men's and women's volleyball competitions are set to be held in Zvolen and Slovenská Ľupča respectively.

EYOF 2022 plays an important role in the development of young athletes as it provides valuable multi-sport event experience and guides them towards Olympic ambitions.

Several competitors who have competed in the European Olympic Committees-organised event have gone on to succeed on the biggest stage including double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington of Britain who featured at Paris 2003.

As well as hopes of acting as a springboard for many careers, organisers hope it can inspire a generation in the host country.

"I believe that EYOF will also help the development of sports and its popularisation among young people in Slovakia," said Ján Nosko, Mayor of Banská Bystrica and President of EYOF 2022.

"EYOF 2022 will be proof that multi-sport events can move from large agglomerations to smaller cities and regions.

"We are trying to show that it is possible to organise a big sports celebration with international participation even with a limited budget and to serve as benchmark for future organisers."

The Opening Ceremony is set to take place next to the Museum of the Slovak National Uprising, which is also the site of the official fan zone before the Closing Ceremony follows suit six days later.

"The official events will be followed by a cultural programme, the aim of which is to present Slovakia," said Lukáš Donoval, marketing director of EYOF.

"We use the best Slovak artists for this, and at the same time we make sure that the programme is also close to the youth who will participate in the event.

"The Gypsies go to heaven dance and music ensemble, the River Dance School, the Urpín Folklore Ensemble from Banská Bystrica and the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra will perform."