A total of 48 countries are set to be represented in Maribor for the Summer European Youth Olympic Festival ©Maribor 2023

Almost 2,500 athletes are poised to compete across 11 sports at the Summer European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Maribor.

Competition is due to begin on Monday (July 24) following tomorrow's Opening Ceremony, that is scheduled to take place at the Ljudski Vrt Stadium in the Slovenian city.

It will be the second time Slovenia has staged an EYOF after Bled played host to the winter edition 20 years ago.

Mountain biking, skateboarding and 3x3 basketball are the three additions to the 10-strong programme that also features artistic gymnastics, athletics, handball, judo, road cycling, swimming, tennis and volleyball.

A total of 2,420 athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 from 48 countries are poised to compete.

Among those include hosts Slovenia, who have named a squad of 71 female and 67 male athletes to participate in all 11 sports.

The last summer edition of the EYOF was held in Slovakian town Banská Bystrica in 2022 after it was postponed by one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Italy topped the overall standings with 21 golds in a 47-medal haul and will hope to do so again in Maribor, while Germany, Spain, Britain and Hungary will aim to produce another strong showing after finishing in the top five last year.

European Olympic Committees President Spyros Capralos said the high number of former EYOF participants competing at this year’s European Games in Kraków-Małopolska was proof of the importance of the event.

"The EYOF gives the next generation of European athletes the chance to compete internationally at a multi-sport event," said Capralos.

"For many of them, this will be the first time that they done this and provides them with vital experience ahead of what we hope are successful careers. I wish them all the best of luck ahead of their events.

"The Local Organising Committee have been professional and precise in their preparations for Maribor 2023 and I am sure that it will be an excellent event.

"Thank you to them for their hard work."

Alongside the competition which is due to conclude on July 29, the European Youth Olympics Ambassador programme is set to run for the seventh time.

The 23 chosen ambassadors are tasked with helping to spread messages of Olympism and Olympic values among athletes through different initiatives across the EYOF.