The European Games, which closed in Kraków on Sunday, was the biggest event on the continent since the 2012 Olympics in London, Polish organisers have claimed ©YouTube

Venues at this year’s European Games, which concluded in Kraków on Sunday (July 2), surpassed those built for an Olympic Games, it has been claimed.

Marcin Nowak, the President of Kraków-Małopolska 2023, hailed the event a massive success, despite low crowds and a general lack of awareness in most of the continent.

The build-up to the event was overshadowed by the invasion last year of Poland’s neighbour Ukraine, which led to the country having to deal with millions of refugees flooding into the country to seek sanctuary.

It led to Russia and its ally Belarus being banned from taking part at Kraków-Małopolska 2023.

A total of 6,857 athletes from 48 countries competed in 254 medal events in 29 sports.

That made it the biggest European Games so far in this third edition of the event following Baku in 2015 and Minsk in 2019.

"We have created the biggest sports event in the history of Poland," Nowak said.

"This is the biggest event in 2023, and I deeply believe that since the London 2012 Olympics it has been the biggest sports event organised in Europe.

"It would not have been possible without the team that we have been working with over the past year.

"That year has meant a lot of hard work, work in difficult conditions, but before the event we knew these Games would turn out to be a great success at a Polish, European and international level.

"This event has shown to Poles, Europeans and the whole world that Poland can organise the highest-quality sport events.

"The arenas that you have seen are at least as good, or maybe even better, than what you might see at the Olympics!"

Witold Kozłowski, the Marshal of Malopolska, emphasised the impact the event has had in his region over the 12 days of competition.

"Speaking personally, I could see how moved the athletes were when receiving their medals," he said.

"I could see people enjoying themselves in the audience, and there were plenty of them.

"The whole region has come to life thanks to this event.

"A host truly wants the visitors to leave happy and satisfied with a sense of having participated in a family meeting of sorts.

"From what I’ve heard, opinions of athletes and coaches have been really quite positive."