The Bulgarian Olympic Committee (BOC) welcomed guests from the Olympic Movement in Sofia, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach and European Olympic Committees (EOC) President Spyros Capralos, to take part in events and festivities to mark the organisation’s 100th anniversary from 17-18 May.

President Bach congratulated the Bulgarian NOC for the 230 medals it had won in its history. He told them that, per capita with such a medal haul, “this puts you among the leading Olympic nations in the world.”

Events kicked off on 17 May with the opening of a photography exhibition – “100th Anniversary of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee” – which took place in front of the National Theatre. Following the opening of the exhibition, guests attended an official celebration at the Central Military Club, followed by a dinner hosted by BOC President Ms Stefka Kostadinova.

Upon arrival in Sofia President Capralos and President Bach, who were also joined by EOC Secretary General Raffaele Pagnozzi, met with Republic of Bulgaria President Mr Rumen Radev. The meeting gave an opportunity to discuss sport and the country’s traditions and successes in weightlifting and wrestling in particular. An exciting future was also highlighted with strengths emerging across other sports after the Bulgarian team secured three medals in snowboard at the Winter European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Friuli Venezia Giulia this February and six medals across gymnastics, volleyball and athletics at the Summer EYOF in Banska Bystrica last year.

On the second day, a visit was arranged to the Olympic Educational and Study Centre at the National Sports Academy (NSA) where President Capralos, President Bach and Secretary General Pagnozzi met with the Rector of the NSA, Prof. Nikolay Izov and the Academy’s leadership team.

During his speech at the gala dinner, President Capralos said: “This evening we celebrate 100 years since the BOC was established. It is a proud milestone. A beautiful milestone. But what matters is what those years represent. And this evening, on behalf of the European Olympic Committees, I want to pay tribute to the BOC for 100 years of committed contribution to the development of sport and the Olympic values in our continent.”

President Capralos highlighted notable achievements by Bulgarian athletes including the two hundred and fifty Olympic medals won and the fifty-five Olympic Champions established since the organisation was founded. He also highlighted the work of sports leaders in the country saying: “I want to recognise the service of the leaders and administrators from Bulgaria who have made extraordinary personal contributions at the continental level.

“Today, this great legacy of service is embodied by President Kostadinova. We can say that your passion and commitment are as enduring as your world record!

“And Secretary General Belcho Goranov, I repeat my tribute from last October, when it was our honour to present you with the Olympic Laurel in Olympia, recognising your exceptional work on our EOC commissions.”

EOC Secretary General Pagnozzi commented: “It has been an honour to celebrate this landmark anniversary with the Bulgarian Olympic Committee. Sport in the country is going from strength to strength with notable performances at the last two EYOFs and the excitement of a new Bulgarian champion in the women’s high jump. We are very grateful for the support and commitment the BOC gives the European Olympic Movement and wish them all the best for the next 100 years!”.

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