With 150 days left until the XV Summer European Youth Olympic Festival which will be staged in Baku on 21-27 July 2019, the EYOF ‘Baku 2019’ Operations Committee is proud to present Jirtdan and Babir as the official event Mascots.
A little boy Jirtdan, which translates from Azerbaijani as ‘tiny’, is the most popular fairy tale character among the children's stories in Azerbaijan. Although much smaller than other children his age, Jirtdan finds strength in being brave and smart. He is distinguished by a strong national identity, ingenuity, wit, courage and sympathy for others. In one fairy tale story, Jirtdan outwits a monster to save himself and his friends. He proves that despite one’s young age and small stature, one can be a fearless hero.
The Caucasian leopard Babir, which translates from Azerbaijani as ‘leopard’, will promote an idea of the richness of the beautiful nature of Azerbaijan. The Caucasian leopard is one of the best known and most widely recognized species in the fauna of Azerbaijan. The image of the leopard is often found in the Azerbaijani mythology. This animal is considered a symbol of natural beauty, strength, fearlessness, and speed. Once widespread throughout the Caucasus, the leopard is now on the brink of extinction and has become a top priority species for conservation in Azerbaijan and the region. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), possibly fewer than 15 Caucasian leopards remain in Azerbaijan. In 2014, the IDEA (International Dialogue for Environmental Action) Public Association of Azerbaijan and the world's leading wild cat conservation organization Panthera signed a Memorandum of Understanding for further cooperation. Under the Memorandum, a special monitoring programme was developed for assessing the living conditions of leopards in Azerbaijan and ensuring protection of these species for future generations.
As symbols of Azerbaijan’s nature and cultural heritage, the EYOF Official Mascots Jirtdan and Babir will reflect the glorious history and rich traditions of our beautiful country. They will both be ready to shine during this top multi-sport European youth event with 25 years of tradition. More importantly, the official EYOF motto ‘Ready to Shine’ will be used to remind everyone of the inspiring sports stars of tomorrow that will be taking their first steps on the international stage in Baku this summer.
- The opening ceremony of the XV Summer European Youth Olympic Festival will be held at Crystal Hall on July 21, 2019, and the closing ceremony will be staged at the same venue on July 27, 2019.
- The sports tournament will engage about 3,600 athletes and team officials from 50 National Olympic Committees of Europe.
- Competitions will be held in 10 sports (rhythmic gymnastics, athletics, basketball, cycling, handball, judo, swimming, tennis, volleyball, wrestling) at 12 competition venues in Baku.
- More than 2,500 volunteers will be engaged in EYOF.