Young Reporter Sonali Prasad caught up for a little chat with Yang Weize, the Executive President of the Organising Committee, on his whistle-stop visit to Sochi.
So with just six months to go, how are the preparations coming along in Nanjing?
We are in the final stage of readiness at Nanjing. The stage is set; the crowd is enthusiastic; and soon the world will be invited to witness the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games in August. This means a lot to us and our people, as the YOG are a movement which is more than just sport. It is about learning, culture and education.
Are the local young people excited that the Youth Olympic Games are coming to Nanjing?
Excited is too small a word to describe the frenzy back home. We had place for 20,000 volunteers for Nanjing, but we were overwhelmed by 100,000 responses. People want to be a part of these Games; they want to live it, enjoy it.
We also have a programme called “I want to come to Nanjing”, and we have received 300,000 applications from all over China. That just says it all. You will see when you come here, the people will welcome you with an open heart and a warm smile.
What will be new in Nanjing compared to Singapore?
The previous YOG held in Singapore were our teacher! At Nanjing, the main thing is the new sports as part of the programme such as golf and rugby, and then there are the “demonstration sports” of skateboarding, sport climbing, roller sports and wushu. These are exciting times!
Will you be watching the YOG athletes participating here in Sochi?
Of course I will be watching and supporting them. The YOGgies have really long successful careers in front of them, and I wish each and every one participating in Sochi all the very best. Take your experiences home, and hopefully even a medal, and inspire the young generation.
How will you invite the world to Nanjing?
Come to Nanjing to see the evolution of sporting legends and future sporting ambassadors; come to Nanjing to learn, be creative and inspired; come to Nanjing and I promise you will take a million memories back home.