15 Aug 2010

Inaugural Youth Olympics open in Singapore

8:31 am on 15 August 2010

The inaugural Youth Olympic Games were officially opened in Singapore by President S.R. Nathan on Saturday.

The ceremony was held on a floating stage in Marina Bay, amid a huge firework display, watched by 25,000 people.

The Olympic flame was carried to the stage by a large dragon boat and lit by sailing competitor Darren Choy, 16, of Singapore.

The 12-day event will involve 3500 athletes aged from 14 to 18, competing in 26 sports.

The Youth Games are the brainchild of International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, who said he had felt like an expectant father before the games began.

Despite criticism over the need for a Youth Olympics in a crowded sporting calendar, Rogge said he was very optimistic that this is going to be the start of a long successful series.

Innsbruck in Austria is scheduled to host the first Winter Youth Olympics in 2012 and Nanjing, China, will stage the second summer games in 2014.

There has also been criticism of the cost after the Singapore government said last month it had trebled from the original estimate of less than $US90 million.

However, Mr Rogge said he was confident attendances would be high.