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  • Preparations for Singapore Youth Olympics Accelerate


    Singapore will host the Youth Olympic Games from August 14 to 26, 2010. (ATR)
    (ATR) The head of the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympics tells Around the Rings plans are accelerating for the inaugural Games

    "We have a very tight timeline. What we are trying to do is accelerate preparations," says Goh Kee Nguan, CEO of the organizing committee.

    "The Games Foundation plan for a normal Olympics takes two years to prepare. We are trying to do it in four months."

    The YOG masterplan covering all aspects of Games preparations will be ready by September, he adds.

    In an exclusive interview with ATR, Goh also reveals that initial work on the $423 million athletes' village at the National University of Singapore is progressing well. A building contractor will be appointed in the coming months to construct the project with a deadline six months ahead of the YOG.

    Work on $4.6 million of venue renovations is well underway. Singapore will use 24 venues for the 26 sports on the YOG program.

    Singapore 2010 chair Ng Ser Miang (left) and CEO Goh Kee Nguan (right) meet with IOC President Jacques Rogge at the SYOGOC headquarters in April.
    Goh says the sports program is close to being finalized. That news follows a series of meetings with most of the international sports federations at SportAccord in Athens last month.

    Some of the participating IFs have now visited the city-state to discuss venue requirements and issues relating to the presentation of their sports at the YOG. Managing the qualification methods for athletes is another major issue for federations.

    Representatives of the International Rowing Federation are due in Singapore next week. Members of the International Swimming Federation visited last week.

    Goh says the YOG format for most of the sports is complete with the exception of volleyball. It’s also not yet clear if indoor or beach volleyball will be staged. In the case of basketball, matches will be contested by teams of three players.

    National Olympic committees will soon be advised on the sports program. Each NOC is allowed to send a maximum of 70 athletes to compete in the YOG. In all, 3,500 athletes aged 14 to 18 will participate at the Games.

    Singapore's hosting of the inaugural Asian Youth Games July 2 to 9, 2009, is the dress rehearsal for the YOG. The eight sports on the program are: track and field, bowling, beach volleyball, three-on-three basketball, sailing, shooting, swimming and diving, and table tennis.

    The Singapore Sports Council and Ministry of Education are leading the organization of the Asian Youth Games, which was part of Singapore's YOG bid plan. However, YOG 2010 officials will also play a part.

    "It is important to use the Asian Youth Games to test some of the things we are planning for the Youth Olympics," Goh says.

    Goh and senior Singapore 2010 officials received a vote of confidence for their plans during a week of technical meetings with the IOC Youth Olympics team led by Essar Gabriel in mid-June.

    "They are very satisfied and expressed confidence
    The campus of National University of Singapore, site of the YOG Village. (NUS)
    in the way we are working," says Goh, adding that progress is being made on other fronts such as the themes of the culture and education program as well as broadcasting and new media plans.

    Manolo Romero, managing director of Olympic Broadcasting Services, has already visited Singapore to discuss broadcasting plans.

    Upcoming developments for the Singapore 2010 venture include the launch of a design competition for a new YOG logo.

    The need to fast-track YOG preparations is reflected in the rapid growth of the Singapore organizing committee; it will rise from 60 to more than 100 employees in the next two months.

    Goh will lead a 16-member delegation to participate in the Beijing Olympics observer program.
    Goh Kee Nguan, CEO, 2010 organizing committee

    Before that, Ng Ser Miang, chairman of the organizers and IOC member for Singapore, will update the IOC Executive Board meeting in Beijing. Singapore 2010 leaders will then make their first presentation to an IOC Session. A young ambassador for the YOG is also expected to take part.

    The IOC co-ordination commission for Singapore, chaired by Sergey Bubka, is scheduled to make its first to the city in October. Dates will be announced later.

    With reporting from Mark Bisson .

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