Niall Treacy to lead Team GB into Erzurum 2017 Opening Ceremony

Short track speed skater Niall Treacy will lead Team GB into tonight’s Opening Ceremony of the Erzurum 2017 European Youth Olympic Festival after being elected Flagbearer.

Treacy was chosen after a vote by his fellow British athletes and will carry the union flag into the Kazim Karabekir Stadium this evening.

The Ceremony, which is being shown live on the Olympic Channel from 4pm GMT, will play out in front of capacity crowd as the Festival officially opens in Turkey.

Treacy, who won overall U16 silver at last year’s British Championships follows in the footsteps of fellow short track speed skater and his Head Coach in Erzurum Jon Eley who led Team GB into the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Treacy said: "It’s a massive honour. I didn’t think the rest of the team would vote for me and it’s amazing to know that they’re supporting me. Following in what Jon has done and to think it’s the biggest thing that I’ve done in my career is just amazing. It’s going to be amazing being the one at the front waving the flag.

"It’s a huge confidence boost knowing that my team believe in me and it will really help me believe in myself a bit more when I race later in the week.”

The athletes, all aged 15-17 years old, will compete across five of the nine disciplines at Erzurum 2017; alpine skiing, cross country skiing, figure skating, short track speed skating and snowboarding - with the Festival set to run from the 12th-17th February.

They will test themselves against Europe’s finest youth winter athletes as the Festival welcomes over 800 competitors from 40 nations for five days of action in Turkey.

Erzurum is hosting the 13th winter edition of EYOF with Team GB having sent athletes to all previous 12 Festivals. In total, nine disciplines will feature at Erzurum 2017, with biathlon, curling, ice hockey and ski jumping completing the programme.

Team GB’s Chef de Mission Joe Divall said: “To be voted by your fellow athletes to be Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony is a huge honour for Niall and great achievement. In the short space of time we’ve been together Niall has really represented the Team GB values and there’s great legacy there from what Jon did in Sochi in leading Team GB. For Niall to learn from Jon and represent his team and lead us out tonight will be a great experience.

“Tonight promises to be a fantastic start to the week and something our athletes would have never experienced before and I’m walking out into the stadium will be a moment they won’t forget.”

With many of the senior Team GB athletes working on the road to the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, European Youth Olympic Festivals play a crucial role in the development of young British athletes and provides a first multi-sport event experience that helps them along the route to achieving their own Olympic dreams.

You can follow Team GB’s journey at Erzurum 2017 on, via social media on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook and also on the Olympic Channel.

The Olympic Channel will be showing live action from each day of the Festival as well as producing a 20-minute highlights package each evening.