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Jacques Rogge: “Absolutely thrilled” by the organization of the YOG

14 Aug 2010

Youth Olympic Games Young Reporter Fabian Ng from Singapore gives his first report from the IOC press conference today to open the Youth Olympic Games.

Declaring himself “absolutely thrilled” by the organisation of the Youth Olympic Games, International Olympic Committee President, Jacques Rogge, says he expects the event to be a success.

The inaugural edition of the YOG kicks off today and Rogge was enthusiastic about how his brainchild has come to fruition three years after the initiative was proposed.

“I feel like a father waiting in the delivery room for the birth to happen,” Rogge said at a press conference held ahead of the Opening Ceremony in the Marina Bay area located in the business district of the city-state.

The YOG will feature some 3,600 athletes between 14 and 18 years of age competing in 26 sports over the next 12 days, and will be closely watched to see if the concept proves to be a success.

Singapore only had two-and-a-half years to prepare for the YOG compared to the seven years a host nation normally has to prepare for the Olympic Games, and Rogge acknowledged the “remarkable” efforts made by the organisers.

Rogge also emphasised the IOC’s commitment to providing education alongside the sporting platform for the young athletes, noting that they are at an age when they are both receptive to advice as well as being at a crucial stage of their development, both physically and mentally.

He added that the IOC had a moral responsibility to educate the athletes and that he hopes the athletes will embrace Olympic values, such as respect, and reject doping, as well as picking up the tools for a healthy lifestyle.

The young athletes, who will be staying in the Youth Olympic Village located in a university campus at the western end of Singapore, will be learning about culture and education in different settings designed to ensure that they have fun while learning about various themes specially tailored to the YOG.

Rogge also expressed his confidence that the YOG would be warmly received, stating that deals were in place for 166 countries to air part or all of the sporting events, which “is a huge result for the first edition”.

Rogge addressed criticisms about the need for the YOG, stating that he was optimistic it would be “the start of a long, successful series” and become an essential part of the Olympic calendar.

The YOG has been identified as a platform for aspiring Olympians to prepare for competition in the traditional Games, and the event also offers young athletes an opportunity for their dedication to be recognised and rewarded.

World-class talent will be present in Singapore in the form of British diver Tom Daley. The 16-year-old, who competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is the world 10m platform diving champion, will be one of the star attractions at the Games.

Singapore won the bid to host the Youth Olympic Games ahead of Moscow, and this will be the city-state’s first opportunity to showcase its ability to host a major multidisciplinary sporting event.

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