The Youth Olympic Games ends on a high note.
Contributed By Yeo Zhi Qi
|PHOTO COURTESY OF SYOGOC|
Twelve days of grueling showdowns and exhilarating fanfare ended on an equally momentous note at the Float@Marina Bay floating platform, with International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge handing over the symbolic Olympic Flag to Mr. Ji Jianye, mayor of Nanjing, the city which will be hosting the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
While it would be only the first of many more YOGs to come, the inaugural Games would be forever etched in the memories of the 3,600 athletes who participated in the 26 sports, the 20,000 local and international volunteers who signed up for duty, as well as the 370,000 spectators who attended the games.
Vastly exceeding his expectations, Rogge said during his closing press conference that he “did not expect this level of perfection.” Speaking of the host city’s efforts, he said “Hats off to Singapore for what they’ve done. I now have 22 Olympic Games under my belt and the YOG is ranking at the very top.”
YOG organizing committee chairman Ng Ser Miang also noted the lasting impact of the YOG on the nation. Establishing that the YOG has deepened the country’s sporting culture, he said, “For the young people and students, I think this has created a real opportunity for them to watch sports competition. I believe that many more youths will take up sports in the future and many more would want to compete for Singapore.”
Senior Parliamentary Secretary of Community Development, Youth and Sports, and Transport, Mr. Teo Ser Luck and YOG table tennis silver medalist Isabelle Li represented Singapore during the handing-over protocol. Following the handover, a video montage of the 12 days of competition gave the athletes a chance to relive memories of both triumph and competition.
Credit also went to the 20,000 volunteers who chipped in to pull off one of the biggest events held on national soil as Singapore’s 50m backstroke silver medalist Rainer Ng paid tribute to the efforts of the volunteers on behalf of the athletes.
Against a backdrop of fireworks and gymnastic performances suspended from hot air balloons, the Youth Olympic Flame was gently extinguished under a cover of dim velvet lights. As the closing duet serenaded the crowd, the end of the inaugural YOG marks what could be the start of a new era in local sports.