(ATR) The leader of Singapore's successful bid for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games tells Around the Rings the city-state will rise to the challenge of staging the inaugural event.
|Singaporean students celebrate at a public gathering at the Padang multi-sport field . (Getty Images)
"We are capable and ready to overcome the challenges we will face to organise a fantastic first Youth Olympic Games," says Teo Ser Luck, parliamentary secretary for community development, youth and sports.
"Work starts tomorrow," he said.
"Time is not on our side, we have to push it."
Singapore defeated Moscow 53-44 in a postal ballot of IOC members over the past month. IOC president Jacques Rogge announced the winner in a live webcast Thursday from the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.
"This is a key moment for the Olympic Movement", said Rogge.
"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," he said.
"I have no doubt that their professionalism and enthusiasm will be instrumental in the staging of a successful Youth Olympic Games in 2010."
|IOC president Jacques Rogge revealed the 2010 host via live webcast. (IOC/H. Tobler)
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hailed the hard-fought victory over Moscow as a "national effort - a people's effort".
"I am overwhelmed," Teo Ser Luck tells ATR.
"This means a lot. We have made history for ourselves. As a small city-state it shows that anything is possible if you put your hearts and minds into it."
Teo said the 7,000 youngsters who had gathered outside city hall in Singapore were "jumping for joy", claiming the YOG would "trigger a sporting culture and development of our society".
"Moscow was a great competitor. It was a great race," he added.
Alexander Chernov, director of external affairs for the Moscow YOG bid, said the Russian team was "disappointed but proud of what we have done".
"We congratulate Singapore. They put together a professional bid," he said.
Chernov did not rule out a future Russian bid for a Youth Olympics but said it was not on the cards for the next summer edition in 2014 because of the Sochi Winter Olympics taking place the same year.
Singapore's next step is to establish the structure of its organising committee.
Teo said this would take place in the coming days and weeks with appointments to be named shortly. He will continue to play a leading role, while IOC member from Singapore Ser Miang Ng could chair the committee.
Working groups for the Games' different functional components including sports, education, culture, marketing and international liaison will soon be established.
Teo said meetings with the IOC and international sports federations are also taking place in the next few days to examine the implementation of the sports program for the YOG.
Around 3,500 athletes aged 14 to 18 will compete in 26 sports on the Olympic program, but there
|The 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore will mark the first time an IOC multi-sport event is held in Southeast Asia. (Getty Images)
will be a limited number of disciplines and events.
Meanwhile, construction of the Youth Olympic Village will continue on a fast-track program. The $423 million project is underway on University Town, a new college housing complex which will serve as the Athletes Village.
With less than two-and-a-half years until the YOG opens, the IOC had highlighted the risk of building housing for 5,000 in time for the Games.
But Teo insists construction is going well, saying: "We are not worried at all. It will be completed on time."
Work on venue upgrades budgeted at less than $4.6 million will be started, he said. Singapore, which will use 24 sports venues, proposes a total games budget of some $75 million with 70 percent revenues sourced from a government subsidy.
Singapore and Moscow were named finalists after the elimination of seven other cities in the bid race: Athens, Greece; Bangkok, Thailand; Turin, Italy; Debrecen, Hungary; Guatemala City; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Poznan, Poland.
The Games will open on August 14, 2010.
The bid process for the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics gets underway in two weeks time when national Olympic committees are invited to nominate applicant cities. With reporting from Mark Bisson.
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