POSTED: August 14th 2010

Opening flame signals that Rogge's new Olympic baby has landed in Singapore

Opening ceremony: swimmer Amanda Lim brings the Youth Olympic Flame to a 27-metre phoenix / SPH-SYOGOC/ Neo Xiaobin
Opening ceremony: swimmer Amanda Lim brings the Youth Olympic Flame to a 27-metre phoenix / SPH-SYOGOC/ Neo Xiaobin

NIKKI WICKS in Marina Bay / Sports Features Communications

SINGAPORE, Aug 14: The inaugural Youth Olympic Games are officially underway after a spectacular opening ceremony at the Marina Bay Stadium in downtown Singapore.

The rain which had threatened to add a spoiler to the event held off and with the city skyline providing an impressive backdrop to the ceremony, some 3,600 athletes aged between 14 and 18 marched in the Parade of Nations, which was followed by speeches from IOC president Jacques Rogges and Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee chairman Ng Ser Miang.

"Tonight we open a new chapter in the history of the Olympic movement," said Rogge, the driving force behind the concept. "From this moment on, young people around the world have a chance to participate in the a global event that combines sport, education and culture."

Ahead of the ceremony, Rogge had said: "I feel like a father waiting in the delivery room for the birth of a baby."

Despite concerns that the Youth Games would struggle to attract enough interest to fill the grounds, around 27,000 people filled the Marina Bay Stadium where more than 5,000 performers took to the stage in a two-hour show, which was broadcast to 166 countries.

More than 2,000 fireworks lit the night sky before sailor Darren Choy, Singapore's 2010 Sportsboy of the Year, lit the first Youth Olympic Flame.

Ng Ser Miang had earlier thanked Rogge and his IOC colleagues for their vision, saying: "Young Olympians who compete against each other in sport will also come together in the culture and education programme as friends and partners. The IOC has envisaged this programme as a defining element of the Youth Olympic Games, differentiating it from other Games."

Champion ambition

Addressing the athletes, Rogges said that the YOG would help them "learn the difference between winning and being a champion. To win, you merely have to cross the finish line first. To be a champion, you have to inspire admiration for your character, as well as for your physical talent."

S R Nathan, the President of Singapore, declared the Games open. Earlier he had been presented with the IOC's Gold Olympic Order, symbol of recognition of individuals who have upheld the ideals of the Olympic movement and advanced the cause of sport.

Singapore 2010 features some of the world’s most talented young athletes from 205 countries competing in the 26 sports currently on the Summer Olympic Programme as well as other events including 3-on-3 basketball, head-to-head canoe and kayak, and cycling combined (BMX/mountain bike/road).

The YOG is also introducing a mixed-gender competition format which sees boys and girls competing in the same event in sports such as triathlon and swimming.

Keywords · Singapore 2010 · Youth Olympic Games · YOG ·

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