- 12 Aug 2010
- IOC News
Breaking New Ground
Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee Chairman and IOC Vice-President Ser Miang Ng explains what he thinks the Games will bring to the Olympic Movement and the host country.
How does it feel to be organising the first edition of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG)?
We are very honoured and proud to be the hosts of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games. It is a fantastic concept and we have an enthusiastic and passionate team of people who have put their heart and soul into organising it. The visit of IOC President Jacques Rogge and the Chef de Missions from some 200 NOCs in March was a great success and we are now moving into operational mode. We are ready to welcome the world in August.
How many volunteers will be working at the YOG?
There will be well in excess of 20,000 volunteers helping us organise the YOG in the different areas. Some 16,000 have signed-up to the programme already. Core training began last October and the volunteers will then move on to venue orientation exercises and test events prior to August.
How will the Culture and Education Programme (CEP) benefit the participants at the YOG?
The YOG has two important components. Firstly, sporting excellence – you can expect to see the world’s top young athletes competing. Equally important is the Culture and Education Programme (CEP), which has been created for the first time. There will be about 50 different activities, which will centre on the themes of Olympism, skills development, well-being and healthy lifestyle, social responsibility and expression. The CEP aims to inform and educate the young athletes about issues such as the environmental conservation and the fight against doping. Young people from across Singapore are also part of the CEP. Since January 2009, every student in Singapore has been learning about Olympic values in the classroom and outside of it.
Will you participate in any of the CEP activities?
I will certainly go to Pulau Ubin and take part in the Island Adventure! The chats with the Olympic champions will be very motivating and I will try to attend some of them. We had Alexander Popov in Singapore two years ago giving a talk to some students in our schools and he was fantastic. He shared his experiences with the youngsters and even went for a swim with them. I can’t think of a better way to motivate young people than to have great Olympic champions here in person.
Can you tell us about the Friends@YOG programme?
This is a twinning programme between schools in Singapore and more than 200 NOCs. The engagement started as early as January 2009 and will continue up to and during the YOG and – we hope – even after the Games. The programme allows the students from the schools in Singapore and the other countries to learn about each other’s culture and traditions. I think this is a great way for the youth of the world to gain a better understanding of each other.
How was the recent Young Ambassadors Seminar?
To see the enthusiasm of the young people was wonderful. I must say that the NOCs have chosen their Young Ambassadors very well. They all had special talents and plenty of enthusiasm. I was impressed by the thought and the frankness of the questions that they put to President Rogge. It transformed a formal occasion into something far more joyful and energetic with a lot of interaction.
What legacy do you think the YOG will have on Singapore?
It will strengthen our sporting culture and help fulfill our dream of becoming a sporting nation. Hosting the first YOG will also put Singapore on the world map as a place to host major sports events. The experience that we have gained and the expertise that we have developed will help us in these areas. The venues, which are existing community sports facilities, have been upgraded and Singaporeans will be able to enjoy these facilities as part of the legacy of the Games.
Which sporting events are you most looking forward to at the YOG?
I will try and ensure that I get to watch all 26 sports during the Games. I will obviously enjoy the sailing events as that is my sport but I will also be very interested to watch some of the sports, which are new to Singapore, such as handball, modern pentathlon and wrestling. This is another legacy to Singapore – the chance for our youth to experience a new sport. Maybe one day we will have an Olympic champion in one of these disciplines!
If YOG had existed when you were a young athlete would you have competed?
I would have trained as hard as possible to participate in the sailing events, though these days there are much more exciting classes with faster boats than there were in my day.
What were the main challenges facing the organisers of the YOG?
We had a tight timeframe – just two and a half years – and also the CEP to organise, which is a totally new project. The YOG is for young athletes from 14-18 years of age so there are extra factors, which also have to be taken into consideration – all of them will be here for the full 12 days so we need to make sure that they are fully occupied all of the time as youngsters have lots of energy to expend! It has been a very exciting journey for all of us involved in it.
How will you define success for the YOG?
If the Young Olympians have an enriching and memorable experience and if they and the youths of the world are touched by the positive experience of the Games and become better citizens of tomorrow; if all our visitors and my fellow Singaporeans have a wonderful time: that is success.