SINGAPORE 201040OLYMPIC REVIEWYoung AmbassadorsSingapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games Organising CommitteeChairman and IOC Vice-PresidentSer Miang Ngexplainswhat he thinks the Games will bring to the OlympicMovement and the host country
OLYMPIC REVIEW41SER MIANG NG Q&AHow does it feel to be organising the first editionof the Youth Olympic Games (YOG)?We are very honoured and proud to be the hosts of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games. It is afantastic concept and we have an enthusiastic andpassionate team of people who have put their heartand soul into organising it. The visit of IOC PresidentJacques Rogge and the Chef de Missions from some200 NOCs in March was a great success and we are now moving into operational mode. We are readyto welcome the world in August. How many volunteers will be working at the YOG?There will be well in excess of 20,000 volunteershelping us organise the YOG in the different areas.Some 16,000 have signed-up to the programmealready. Core training began last October and thevolunteers will then move on to venue orientationexercises and test events prior to August. How will the Culture and Education Programme(CEP) benefit the participants at the YOG?The YOG has two important components. Firstly,sporting excellence - you can expect to see the world's top young athletes competing. EquallySer Miang NgSYOGOC Chairman"I will try towatch all 26 sports during the Games"important is the Culture and Education Programme(CEP), which has been created for the first time.There will be about 50 different activities, which will centre on the themes of Olympism, skillsdevelopment, well-being and healthy lifestyle, social responsibility and expression. The CEP aims toinform and educate the young athletes about issuessuch as the environmental conservation and the fightagainst doping. Young people from across Singaporeare also part of the CEP. Since January 2009, everystudent in Singapore has been learning aboutOlympic values in the classroom and outside of it.Will you participate in any of the CEP activities?I will certainly go to Pulau Ubin and take part in theIsland Adventure! The chats with the Olympicchampions will be very motivating and I will try toattend some of them. We had Alexander Popov inSingapore two years ago giving a talk to somestudents in our schools and he was fantastic. Heshared his experiences with the youngsters and evenwent for a swim with them. I can't think of a betterway to motivate young people than to have greatOlympic champions here in person. Can you tell us about the Friends@YOGprogramme?This is a twinning programme between schools inSingapore and more than 200 NOCs. Theengagement started as early as January 2009 andwill continue up to and during the YOG and -wehope -even after the Games. The programmeallows the students from the schools in Singaporeand the other countries to learn about each other'sculture and traditions. I think this is a great way for the youth of the world to gain a betterunderstanding of each other. How was the recent Young AmbassadorsSeminar?To see the enthusiasm of the young people waswonderful. I must say that the NOCs have chosentheir Young Ambassadors very well. They all hadspecial talents and plenty of enthusiasm. I wasimpressed by the thought and the frankness of thequestions that they put to President Rogge. Ittransformed a formal occasion into something farmore joyful and energetic with a lot of interaction.What legacy do you think the YOG will have on Singapore?It will strengthen our sporting culture and help fulfillour dream of becoming a sporting nation. Hostingthe first YOG will also put Singapore on the worldmap as a place to host major sports events. Theexperience that we have gained and the expertisethat we have developed will help us in these areas.The venues, which are existing community sportsfacilities, have been upgraded and Singaporeans willbe able to enjoy these facilities as part of the legacy of the Games.Which sporting events are you most lookingforward to at the YOG?I will try and ensure that I get to watch all 26 sportsduring the Games. I will obviously enjoy the sailingevents as that is my sport but I will also be veryinterested to watch some of the sports, which arenew to Singapore, such as handball, modernpentathlon and wrestling. This is another legacy toSingapore - the chance for our youth to experiencea new sport. Maybe one day we will have anOlympic champion in one of these disciplines! If YOG had existed when you were a youngathlete would you have competed?I would have trained as hard as possible toparticipate in the sailing events, though these daysthere are much more exciting classes with fasterboats than there were in my day.What were the main challenges facing theorganisers of the YOG?We had a tight timeframe - just two and a halfyears - and also the CEP to organise, which is a totally new project. The YOG is for young athletesfrom 14-18 years of age so there are extra factorswhich also have to be taken into consideration - all of them will be here for the full 12 days so weneed to make sure that they are fully occupied all of the time as youngsters have lots of energy toexpend! It has been a very exciting journey for all of us involved in it.How will you define success for the YOG?If the Young Olympians have an enriching andmemorable experience and if they and the youths ofthe world are touched by the positive experience ofthe Games and become better citizens of tomorrow; if all our visitors and my fellow Singaporeans have a wonderful time: that is success. ?