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Spectacular opening to Youth Olympic Games

SINGAPORE: The inaugural Youth Olympic Games officially opened on Saturday in a spectacular blaze of colour, with Jacques Rogge hailing it as a new chapter in the Olympic movement.

With the Singapore skyline as an impressive backdrop, some 7,000 singers and dancers performed in an opening ceremony on a floating platform at Marina Bay.

“Tonight we open a new chapter in the history of the Olympic movement,” International Olympic Committee President Rogge told the 27,000-capacity crowd and a worldwide television audience in declaring the Games open.

The Games, which features athletes aged 14 to 18, is a project Rogge has championed since becoming IOC chief in 2001, with the event designed as a stepping stone for youngsters striving to compete at an Olympics proper.

Some 3,600 athletes from 205 countries will take part in the 26 events that make up the traditional Olympics, with a simultaneous cultural and education programme running to teach them about Olympic values and global issues.

Some of the sports have been adapted, with new formats like street basketball and triathlon with mixed gender teams.

There will even be competitions with mixed teams from different nationalities.

The Games runs from August 14 to 26. — AFP

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