International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach officially opened the Games of the Small States of Europe (GSSE) at the San Marino Stadium on Monday evening.
The 17th edition of the Games began with a two-hour Opening Ceremony directed by Vittorio Picconi. A total of 800 people participated in the Ceremony, 600 of them children, with music, dance and juggling among the festivities.
The nine competing nations were paraded in front of the 6,000 spectators in the venue. More than 900 athletes are set to compete in the event due to close on Saturday, June 3. Andorra, Cyprus, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro and San Marino will all be taking part. The participating nations have to be members of the European Olympic Committees and must have a population of less than a million. Because of the limited populations of the states, competitors do not have to be citizens of the countries they represent but must have lived there for at least three years.
The Ceremony drew to a close with the lighting of the cauldron, while fireworks were fired into the night sky.
It is the third time San Marino has hosted the multi-sports event, with the country staging the inaugural edition in 1985 – and the Games in 2001 as well.
Volleyball and Beach Volleyball feature among the highlights of the Games’ programme. Luxembourg and Montenegro won men’s and women’s Volleyball gold at the last edition of the GSSE two years ago in Iceland – whereas teams from Andorra and Iceland claimed the top honours in the men’s and women’s Beach Volleyball tournaments.
For further information visit the official website https://www.sanmarino2017.sm/en/
Click here for a comprehensive gallery of the Volleyball and Beach Volleyball competitions