Nowy Targ Mayor Grzegorz Watycha, right, receives the official flag of the 2023 European Games ©Kraków-Małopolska 2023

Nowy Targ and Zakopane, partner cities with Kraków and Małopolska in hosting this year's European Games, have each received an official Games flag from the President of the Organising Committee, Marcin Nowak.

The first ceremony, at the Nowy Targ City Hall, saw the flag passing from the hands of Marshal Witold Kozlowski to Nowak to the Mayor, Grzegorz Watycha.

Nowak commented that the modernisation of the local arena will ensure that the boxing competition, which is a continental qualifier for the Paris 2024 Games, can be held in the perfect conditions, and that Nowy Targ "will be on the lips of all Europeans, and everywhere around the world."

Watycha said: "As co-host of the Games we will do our best to make sure that the boxing competition, which has such an amazing status, will run as smoothly as possible.

"The arena is mainly known for its hockey matches, but thanks to funding from the Małopolska this will be the beginning of something new.

"The facility will gain freshness, and all the next competitions will be held in much better conditions."

The prestige of the boxing at the third European Games - following Baku 2015 and Minsk 2019 - has been heightened by the International Olympic Committee's decision to make it the largest European qualification competition, with 44 spots on offer.

During the nine days of competition at the Nowy Targ Arena, which can accommodate more than 3,000 spectators, 350 male and female athletes will compete for 13 sets of medals.

Zakopane's Mayor Leszek Dorula, centre, receives the official EOC flag to mark his city's status as a partner of this year's European Games ©Kraków-Małopolska 2023
Zakopane's Mayor Leszek Dorula, centre, receives the official EOC flag to mark his city's status as a partner of this year's European Games ©Kraków-Małopolska 2023

The boxing competition will begin on Friday, June 23 and will last until July 2, with a break day scheduled for June 29.

Final fights will take place during the last two days of competition.

The flag with the logo of the European Games has also been given to the second of the partner cities, Zakopane, where ski jumping competitions will be held on the Wielka and Średnia Krokiew hills.

During the ceremonial handover of the flag, Zakopane's Mayor Leszek Dorula and Zakopane Deputy Mayor Agnieszka Nowak-Gąsienica joined the previously gathered guests.

After taking the flag from Nowak, Dorula acknowledged the importance of the European Games to his city.

"The Podtatrze region is the cradle of Polish downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and ski jumping, and it is certainly necessary to consolidate this position, as it is an important part of our tradition," said Zakopane’s parliamentary representative Anna Paluch.

Ski jumping is expected to attract crowds of thousands under the Wielka and Średnia Krokiew in Zakopane.

The competitions from June 27 to July 1 will be held on hills covered with artificial surfaces and will involve 95 of the best male and female athletes from across Europe.

The Kraków-Małopolska 2023 European Games are due to be held in Poland from June 21 to July 2.