Sports Associations Prepare For Inaugural Youth Olympic Games

SINGAPORE : February 21 is the day Singapore will know if it managed to edge out rival Moscow in its bid to host the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010.

But even before it gets the final nod, Singapore has prepared its game plan.

And one strategy is to get all stakeholders on board.

Our reporter looks at how National Sports Associations can play a pivotal role.

Support for Singapore’s bid to host the Youth Olympic Games came in various forms and for some groups, their commitment to the Games is much more than a show of support.

The National Sports Associations have a crucial role as they are the ones which will groom the athletes to take part in the inaugural event in 2010.

Some 3,500 athletes will be competing in 26 sports for the Youth Olympic Games.

But what’s more important, all the athletes have to be from 14 to 18 years old, so National Sports Associations in Singapore have to focus on youth development and developing its talent.

The Singapore Athletics Association believes it’s on track to deliver a few medals in throwing and sprint events.

S Govindaraju, Honorary Secretary, Singapore Athletics Association, said: “The Association has a very strategic plan for development of young athletes, so for the past couple of years we have been grooming young athletes and they have been showing some results at the last SEA Games. Our message to them is that if they continue to focus and show the same commitment, we can expect some medals at this Youth Olympics.”

Also confident at making a splash are Singapore swimmers.

Most of them are in the age group which is just right for the Games.

Despite being a regional powerhouse, the Singapore Swimming Association, or SSA, wants to aim to excel in another discipline – diving.

Jeffrey Leow, President, Singapore Swimming Association, said: “Right now, we have no divers so if there are any divers out there listening to this, and want to take a crack at the Youth Olympic Games, please come to SSA and let us know so when we get our diving coach in we can start the programme.”

Singapore plans to have its athletes compete in all 26 sports being contested.

Teo Ser Luck, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, said: “There are some sports without Associations like handball. But the good thing is we have handball players…so if you have the players that would help.”

And with that strategy, Singapore managed to send a large contingent of young athletes at the Southeast Asian Games in Thailand last year in preparation for the big Games in 2010.

Meanwhile Young NTUC members have specially penned a cheer to show support for Singapore’s bid to host the Youth Olympic Games in 2010.

They performed the cheer for the first time at the inaugural Singapore Charity Shield event on Sunday evening.

It was a soccer match between Singapore Armed Forces FC and Home United at Jalan Besar Stadium.

The event marks the start of this year’s NTUC Income-Yeo’s S.League season. – CNA/ch

Channel News Asia

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