Nanjing, China: The Qatari contingent is eyeing an improved performance at the second edition of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) which will start today with the opening ceremony at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre in Nanjing, China.
Equestrian Hamad Ali Qadi will be the flag-bearer for the Qatari contingent that will participate in Aathletics, Artistic Gymnastics, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis and Handball apart from Equestrian.
Qatar’s Chef-de-Mission Eisa Al Harami was hoping from a good show from his contingent in the multi-sporting event, the competitions of which will start from tomorrow.
Al Harami said all the players were well prepared before hoping for a better show from the national athletes that in the Singapore games, four year ago.
Meanwhile, rain was likely to interrupt the opening ceremony of Youth Games.
But, the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee (NYOGOC) was unfazed and getting ready spiritedly to put up a mix of items that has been lined up during a vibrant and colourful 90-minute ceremony.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, IOC President Thomas Bach, ex-IOC president Jacques Rogge, Chinese Olympic Committee head Li Xueyong and many other dignitaries from around the world are to attend the ceremony, which will showcase the youthful spirit of the event.
Also during the opening ceremony, both IOC boss Bach and COC head Jinping would deliver their speeches and a Chinese female athlete would run the final lap of the torch relay before the cauldron is lit.
On Thursday night, the third and final rehearsal was performed and various new elements have been added to the programme, according to opening ceremony director Chen Weiya. “Even there may be some more additions to make the events more appealing and thrilling on Saturday.
Called ‘Light Up The Future,’ the ceremony is said to be a titillating blend of the China’s rich history with the abundance of spirit and energy that the YOG stand for. Chen also insists that the ceremony would still be enjoyed by everybody be it young or old.”
“Our responsibility is to show to the youth across the world an opening ceremony that is full of youth and vitality,” Chen said, adding, “In the opening ceremony you will see young people singing, dancing and generally expressing their enthusiasm for the future.”
With Sierra Leone and Nigeria pulling out due to Ebola virus, 202 nations are expected to compete in the YOG. One athlete from South Sudan will compete under the IOC flag as the African nation doesn’t have a National Olympic Committee. Hosts China are fielding the biggest contingent of 123 athletes. They are followed by Brazil, who have listed 97 athletes.
As many as 222 events in 28 disciplines will be contested. Golf and rugby sevens are newest additions to the YOG programme. Beach volleyball has come in place of indoor volleyball and field hockey has introduced new format of seven-a-side. Mixed gender is a new event in shooting and a few other sports have also come up with different formats.
The judging panel comprises world-renowned designer, Thomas Heatherwick, the man behind the iconic Olympic cauldron at the London 2012 Olympic Games; Youth Olympic Games 400m hurdles gold medalist Aurelie Chaboudez (FRA); Olympic short-track speed skating champion Yang Yang (CHN); Youth Olympic Games Ambassador Yelena Isinbaeva (RUS); Olympic fencer and IOC Athletes’ Commission Chair Claudia Bokel (GER); and IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli.
The panel also selected two runner-up designs. They were ‘A Hug From Lele!’ by Hugo Fernandez, 29, from Spain; and ‘Stripes of Victory’ by Csaba Szitas, 28, from Slovakia.
The volunteers of the second YOG are sporting greenish yellow and white dress and that is why they are being dubbed as ‘Little Limes.’ They may be ‘Little Limes’ but they have added their sweet flavour to the YOG.
A huge army of 20,000 volunteers with ever-smiling face is involved in the Nanjing Youth Olympics and they are present everywhere to help anyone.
The volunteers underwent four phases of training - orientation training, specialised training, job training and participating in validation exercises – before they were ready for the job. And indeed, they are doing their job very well.
With the official Olympic broadcast partners being present in over 160 countries and territories around the world, the second YOG would have the most comprehensive coverage ever.
CCTV of hosts China will provide over 600 hours of live, delayed and highlights coverage of the sports action in the nation.
Live and on-demand coverage of the action can also be watched through the IOC’s global digital platforms: www.olympic.tv, www.olympic.org and www.youtube.com/olympics.