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  • Moscow, Singapore Top Short List for Youth Olympics


    (ATR) An IOC panel of experts is giving Moscow and Singapore the edge in a group of five cities shortlisted for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games.

    Athens, Bangkok and Turin rounded out the list published Monday by the IOC. Falling out of contention were Debrecen, Guatemala City, Kuala Lumpur and Poznan.

    The IOC Executive Board conducted a postal vote over the weekend to confirm the shortlist.

    The decision was based on the report of a 12-member expert panel that evaluated bid documents from each of the nine cities. The panel met in Lausanne for two days earlier this month to come up with its findings. IOC member Sergey Bubka leads the panel.

    The cities were evaluated on eight criteria: governance, general infrastructure, sport and venues, culture and education, Youth Olympic Village, transport operations, accommodation and finance and marketing.

    In overall ratings, Moscow received the highest marks, followed by Singapore, Athens, Bangkok and Turin.

    The most weight was given to sport and venues and the Youth Olympic Village. Culture and education was next highest, along with finance and marketing. General infrastructure and governance were of middle importance while accommodation and transport were given the least weight.

    Comments about security are included for each city, but no scoring is made for the category.

    The five cities will now entertain brief visits from the IOC experts who are expected to only examine certain points of each city’s proposal for clarification.

    The findings of these visits will be used in December by the IOC Executive Board to come up with a final list of cities to present for a vote by the full IOC in February.

    The full report is available at the IOC web site.

    Here’s a profile of each of the cities, along with report highlights:

    Athens, Greece
    Country Pop: 10,706,920
    City Pop: 3,200,000

    In its comments, the IOC experts noted Athens “very high level of experience, both in hosting international
    multi-sport events (2004 Olympic Games) and international sports events (numerous World and Continental Championships in a variety of sports) within the past ten years.”

    The panel raised concerns about the culture and education portion of the proposal noting that “the programme seems to lack innovation in terms of content and understanding of the various target audiences. Limited pre-Games programmes are proposed.”

    “The panel expresses its concern regarding the proposal to give computers to Youth Olympic Games athletes, for ethical reasons,” says the report.

    Concerns are raised about travel times planned for the cultural program.

    “The distances between the Youth Olympic Village and the proposed venues for the culture programme are considered quite long,” says the IOC report.

    The budget of $318 million includes a subsidy of $84 million and local sponsorships of $161 million. The report says reaching those figures “would be extremely challenging”.

    Lower costs are urged as a way to ease the budget, noting for example that $49 million is budgeted for ceremonies.

    Bangkok, Thailand
    Country Pop: 65,068,149
    City Pop: 4,819,253

    Transport is one of the concerns of the IOC experts for Bangkok.

    “As a rapidly growing metropolitan area,
     (Bangkok faces difficulties in developing its transport infrastructure system sufficiently rapidly to meet increasing traffic demands.

    “Bangkok’s concept proposes dispersed venues with very long distances from the Youth Olympic Village and generally unreliable travel times due to congestion,” says the report.

    On the sports side, Bangkok does not include Modern Pentathlon in its program.

    “Venues are spread out and reliability of operations is not guaranteed,” cautions the report.

    The budget proposed by Bangkok, $33.2 million, may be too low. The figure, say the experts, “questions Bangkok’s ability to deliver the required service levels and operational requirements of the Youth Olympic Games within the proposed financial envelope.”

    Moscow, Russia
    Country Pop: 141,377,752
    City Pop: 10,568,193

    Experience is one of Moscow’s assets say the IOC experts.

    “Moscow has a high level of experience in hosting international sports events (World Championships and Continental Championships)
    in a high number of sports within the past ten years.”

    “Moscow also has experience in hosting international multi-sport events through the 1998 World Youth Games and the 2002 International Sports Youth Games,” the report adds.

    The Russian capital also wins praise for “an excellent and coherent education programme greatly focused on the alliances between sport, education and culture.”

    “The education programme is particularly oriented towards Youth Olympic Games athletes,” says the report.

    But the report also says the cultural program “seems, however, largely focused on exhibitions, performances and celebrations at iconic locations. In addition, some of the sites proposed for the culture programme are considered far from the Youth Olympic Village.”

    The Moscow YOG budget is $179.8 million, with 15 percent of that to come from local sponsors.

    “Whilst this may be considered feasible in a market of the size of Russia, the Panel of Experts is unable to determine what, if any, effect the organisation of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in the same territory could have on the Youth Olympic Games,” says the report.

    The IOC panel says it believes Moscow may have “largely over scoped the culture and education programme” which amounts to 42 percent of the total budget. Cost savings could be realized, say the experts, with a second look at the plans.

    City/Country Pop: 4,553,009

    Infrastructure is a plus for the Singapore bid, says the IOC report.

    “Singapore has developed one of the densest high performance transport systems in the world. The metro is fully air conditioned. All venues are served by public transport and no additional transport infrastructure would be required for the Youth Olympic Games.”

    The report
    notes “the compact venue plan proposes one large cluster of 13 sports located in four different sports complexes. The bid committee states that travel times to all venues would be within 30 minutes.”

    While Singapore has hosted continental and regional championships in a variety of sports within the past ten years, the island nation “has no recent experience in hosting large multi-sport events,” says the report.

    The culture and education program draws praise from the IOC.

    “Singapore proposes a dynamic, professional and well thought-out education programme which would clearly integrate sport with culture and education. Community interaction and flexibility are demonstrated in the concept. The proposed initiatives are varied, interactive and innovative, including both learning and fun elements. An interesting motivational and recognition programme for participating athletes is proposed,” the report says.

    But the report notes “the link with the Youth Olympic Games would, however, have to be further developed.”

    The Youth Olympic Village, proposed for new university housing, could be a challenge to complete by the time of the games, say the experts.

    The budget proposed for the Games is $75 million.

    “Revenue targets appear achievable and cost items should reasonably allow for the delivery of the required Youth Olympic Games service levels and operational requirements,” says the report.

    Turin, Italy
    Country Pop: 58,147,733
    City Pop: 872,255

    In its comments, the IOC panel says the education component of the bid “focuses largely on local & national youth and non-athlete participants rather than Youth Olympic Games athletes.”

    But the cultural program is praised for “a significant number of initiatives
    appealing to young participants and local youth.”

    “A good balance is achieved between targeting the youth of the city and the Youth Olympic Games athletes. Turin’s cultural programme would help to create festive atmosphere in the city,” says the report.

    Although guarantees are made to deliver a village, the experts note that “no information has been provided concerning the cost of construction.”

    Similar to Singapore, the report questions the ability to deliver this new housing in time for the games.

    The Turin budget of $112 million would include 24 pecent furnished by local sponsors.

    “The Panel of Experts believes that reaching such levels of revenue may be challenging. On the expenditure side, Turin could reduce certain cost line items to reduce revenue needs,” the IOC report says.

    Written by Ed Hula

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