The exclusive group of Friends of UEFA EURO 2012 in Ukraine gained 20 new members as the winners of a drawing competition for young people were presented at the local organising committee (LOC) headquarters in Kyiv today.
The 20 prize winners joined the small number of Ukrainian celebrities already confirmed as Friends of UEFA EURO 2012 at a special ceremony in the capital. The youngsters had been invited to enter a drawing contest, between 15 September and 15 October, on the theme of their country staging UEFA EURO 2012 and what it means to them.
A jury comprising four well-known Ukrainians – publisher Ivan Malkovych, artists Kost Lavro and Yevheniya Gapchynska, and television presenter Olga Freimut – picked out the five best drawings in each age group (5-7, 8-10, 11-13 and 14-16).
"Every decision was a tough one because all the drawings were beautiful: we discussed every winner at length. It was a really fantastic experience," said Freimut. "I'm delighted to have participated in this project. Now I understand why the organisers wanted to have so many Friends of EURO from this competition, as the drawings reveal the hearts and souls of these extremely talented children."
The LOC had received more than 200 drawings from all over Ukraine, the main subjects being friendship between Ukraine and Poland, the warmth of the Ukrainian people and their wish to be part of the European family. The competition winners received an assortment of EURO-branded merchandise, ranging from caps and polo shirts to rare collector's items such as Friends of UEFA EURO 2012 pennants and pins produced in limited and numbered editions.
The special prize of a trip to Geneva – with tickets for the Switzerland-Ukraine friendly international on 17 November and a visit to UEFA headquarters in Nyon – went to the overall winner in each age category.
"We were happy to praise all our winners as their efforts were inspirational," said head juror Malkovych. "We were all impressed by their original and fresh vision of EURO 2012 and of Ukraine as a host country."
Up to 100 people each in Ukraine and Poland will be officially nominated as Friends of EURO – half of them public figures selected by the LOC, with the remaining spots open to the general public via various competitions for people of all ages.
Olympians Serhiy Bubka and Valeriy Borzov, singer Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, boxers Vitaliy Klychko and Volodymyr Klychko, FC Dynamo Kyiv goalkeeper Olexandr Shovkovskiy, and former FC Dynamo Kyiv and Soviet Union midfielder Leonid Buryak were among those already signed up in Ukraine.
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