LAUSANNE, Switzerland – Singapore will host the first Youth Olympic Games in 2010.
The Southeast Asian city-state of 4.5 million people beat out Moscow in a vote of the International Olympic Committee. The result was announced Thursday by IOC president Jacques Rogge during a ceremony at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.
In a postal ballot of IOC members, Singapore defeated the Russian capital 53-44.
Singapore has never hosted a major international multisports event but held a sentimental edge over Moscow. The IOC was eager to reward a city which might never be able to stage the full Olympics.
"We dared to dream, we worked hard to pursue our dream despite the odds, and now the dream will become a reality," Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.
The Youth Games will feature about 3,200 athletes aged 14-18 competing in 26 sports. The event, to be held every four years, is designed to encourage youngsters to get involved in sports and spend less time in front of computer and television screens. The first Winter Youth Olympics will be in 2012.
"It's a great honor and privilege for all of us, for Singapore and every Singaporean," Lee said. "For the first time, the 'Olympics' name will be in Southeast Asia, and in Singapore. We will be the focus of a new era of sports development for Singapore, for Southeast Asia and for the Olympic movement."
Lee spoke at a public gathering in Singapore that included about 5,000 students from 90 schools, most of whom were decked out in red and were assembled at a large field in front of the downtown City Hall to listen to the result from Lausanne.
"We worked very hard for seven months," Lee said. "It was a national effort, but more than that, it was a people's effort. .... Now, the countdown to 2010 begins. We have 2 1/2 years to prepare for the Youth Olympic Games. It's going to be challenging, but it's going to be full of excitement and achievements."
Moscow hosted the 1980 Olympics, and Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi was picked last year to stage the 2014 Winter Games.
"Moscow was a little bit penalized by the fact that Sochi was awarded the Winter Games," Rogge told The Associated Press. "I think the prevailing sentiment among the IOC members is also that they prefer to give it to a new city that has not organized a Games."
The Russian Olympic Committee was gracious in defeat.
"No doubt, the games will be held at a good level because Singapore has the necessary resources and potential," Russian committee spokesman Gennady Shvets said. "The Olympics is our common cause. There can be no losers. ... There is some degree of frustration, but it was a good contest and there is a worthy winner."
IOC members are well acquainted with Singapore, which hosted the IOC general assembly in 2005 where London was picked as host of the 2012 Olympics.
"This is a key moment for the Olympic movement," Rogge said. "Singapore has put together a very exciting project. Hosting the Youth Olympic Games for the first time is a great responsibility, and I have every confidence in the team in Singapore."
Rogge will visit Singapore next week with Sergei Bubka, the pole vault world record holder and IOC member from Ukraine who will lead a panel monitoring preparations in the host city.
Rogge said broadcasters will be offered free daily television highlights from the Singapore Games.
"We know that youth sport is a difficult issue for broadcasters who are not showing much of it and I regret that," he said. "However, this exposure will be much bigger than for any other junior world championships."
Singapore, with a games budget of $75 million (€51 million), will use 24 venues, including one large cluster for 13 sports. Nineteen of the venues already exist, four would be built as temporary facilities and one is under construction for equestrian.
Singapore was asked by the IOC to provide contingency plans for a second athletes' village to allay concerns its first choice might not be ready.
Construction work began last month for a 5,000-bed residence at the National University of Singapore. The facility, costing $423 million (€287 million), is due to be completed six months before the Aug. 14, 2010, opening ceremony at the Marina Bay Floating Stadium.
"I think there will be no problem with the athletes' village," Bubka said. "We have had guarantees explaining how the building will be done but we need to be very careful. They have good venues and we know from visiting Singapore in 2005 how they are hosting people from around the world."
Singapore and Moscow made the final list after the elimination of Athens, Greece; Bangkok, Thailand; Turin, Italy; Debrecen, Hungary; Guatemala City; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Poznan, Poland. - AP
Re: Singapore to host first Youth Olympics in 2010
THIS IS a big advantage for us because it will be easy to go to Singapore and watch the games, especially if our junior team qualifies for the basketball event. If you look at those budget carriers that fly out of Clark Field, the fare is almost the same as say a trip between Manila and Davao.
As IOC president Rogge hits town, Youth Olympics committee chairman hopes for perfect build-up
THIS Sunday, Ng Ser Miang, Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee (SYOGOC) board chairman, will celebrate his 59th birthday.
And topping his wish list is for Singapore's preparations for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games here to get off to a smooth start this weekend, with the blessings of International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge.
On Friday evening, Ng welcomed Rogge to Singapore. The IOC chief and his delegation are in town for a 39-hour stopover visit to inspect the Republic's preparations for the inaugural Youth Games before leaving this Sunday.
"It's good to show the IOC president what we have and what we've done so far," said Ng, who is also an IOC executive board member.
"We put out a very strong bid, and now it's time to show we're moving ahead with it."
On Feb 21, Singapore edged out Moscow 53 to 44 in a postal ballot by 105 IOC members to host the first ever Youth Olympic Games.
A budget of US$75 million ($103.8 million) has been set aside to stage the Games, which will see 800 officials and up to 3,500 athletes aged 14 to 18 years compete in 184 events across 26 sports held at 24 venues from Aug 14-26.
Before meeting Rogge at the airport on Friday, the 22-strong SYOGOC board met for the first time at its Kay Siang Road headquarters to address several issues, including the setting up of five sub-committees to focus on business and marketing; community outreach; culture and education; sports; and youth engagement.
This Sunday, a SYOGOC delegation — including Ng, advisor and Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Community Development, Youth and Sports) Teo Ser Luck and chief executive officer BG (NS) Goh Kee Nguan — will leave for Beijing to attend the Association of National Olympic Committees (April 7-10).
An IOC team will then visit Singapore from April 13-18 to conduct a workshop to impart its knowledge on the administrative, commercial, logistical and operational side of hosting a major Games.
Said Ng: "Last month, we visited the IOC in Lausanne, and their advice to us was not to rush, even though we only have two-and-a-half years to prepare.
"So we'll finish the workshop first before we know the key areas to tweak and fine-tune.
"As this is the first Youth Olympic Games, the IOC are also working out the guidelines, such as how the IOC sponsors can be involved in the Youth Olympics and what opportunities are available for Singapore (sponsors)."
Rogge last visited Singapore in July 2005, when he gave the hosts a perfect score of "six" for its hosting of the 117th IOC Session, and the SYOGOC will look to build on that success.
The visiting IOC delegation also includes Youth Olympic Games co-ordination commission chairman Sergey Bubka, Youth Olympic Games head Essar Gabriel and Olympic Games executive director Gilbert Felli.
To bring the IOC delegation up to speed on the Republic's preparations, the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and SYOGOC have put together an island-wide tour on Saturday, starting with a visit to Victoria Junior College for a discussion on Olympism.
It will be followed by a visit to the National University of Singapore and the Games Village — which will be ready by February 2009 — the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), where Rogge will unveil a mural commissioned by the NTU-based Singapore Olympic Academy, and the Singapore Sports School.
In the evening, the host city contract will be signed by Dr Rogge and Ng at the Istana, followed by a state dinner there hosted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
And if everything goes smoothly and to plan, it would be the perfect birthday gift for Ng.
He said: "My birthday wish is simply for the Games to be successfully organised, and that the IOC's first visit here since the announcement will be a smooth one."