POSTED: March 27th 2009

YOG to keep flame moving

London police arrest a protester during the international leg of the 2008 torch relay / late images
London police arrest a protester during the international leg of the 2008 torch relay / late images

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

DENVER: Singapore has found a way around the end of the controversial, short-lived international Olympic torch relay.

Dr Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, confirmed at Sportaccord in Denver the decision to bring the relay to a halt after just four years. Security problems, created by political protesters ahead of both the 2006 Winter Games in Turin and the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, had made the verdict inevitable.

However organisers of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore next year still intend to take the torch to five continents before competition begins.

Educational focus

Thus, with the approval of the IOC, the flame will be lit in Greece and be taken to five cities in five continents where it will NOT be taken out on the roads but will serve as a focus for sports-based educational and cultural events.

Ng Ser Miang, chairman of the Singapore organising committee, said: "It's really a very interesting concept and it is something that can create a lot of excitement and passion without the accompanying risk of what a torch relay will bring."

There will still be a torch relay in Singapore itself.

Rogge said: "The IOC regrets very much that the symbol of the torch has been shattered [by protests last year]. It happened also in Turin in 2006 when unhappy citizens made a protest because they didn’t agree with the digging of a tunnel unde the mountains. It had nothing to do with the Games but, because of the media attention, they made their protest.

"Because the torch relay is such a media issue there will always be someone who wants to abuse it. I find it sad but we have to live with reality."

Keywords · Youth Olympic Games · YOG · Singapore · torch · Rogge

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