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50OLYMPIC REVIEWOLYMPISM IN ACTIONevery day and I am really pleasantly surprised at theresponse we got from athletes at the village," shesaid. "Sport is an incredible channel for getting HIVmessages out to young people. As well as theathletes, the volunteers working with us at the boothalso became hugely sensitised on HIV issues andwanted to spread the word further. Young people arechampions both on and off the field and theirleadership on HIV can have critical impact."The IFRC booth used the opportunity to educatethe young athletes about first aid techniques, disasterpreparedness and the global need for blood donations.Many athletes who attended the IFRC sessions werekeen to spread the messages that they had learnt."Donating blood is a moral responsibility of everyhuman being," said Dragana Volkanovska, a youngbadminton player from the Former Yugoslav Republicof Macedonia. "Blood is very much needed, especiallyin times of disasters and conflict. Everybody has togive at least once in a lifetime."At the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)booth, meanwhile, athletes were able to participate ina variety of activities and games, all of them focusingon the rights of children and on the conditionsrequired for them to reach their full capabilities. Thegames at the booth encouraged the youngsters toexpress their life stories, dreams and values in a funand interactive way. For instance, many athletes choseto design their own T-shirts with slogans such as "Youhave the right as a girl to play sports" or "It is yourturn to reach out to those in need". US ice hockey star Angela Ruggiero also acted asan Athlete Role Model in Singapore and the multi-Olympic medalist was pleased to see the YOG usingsport as a way of communicating important messagesto young athletes from around the world. "You can bevery focused as an athlete, so for the IOC to come inand give the young athletes this educational componentto add to their sports repertoire is amazing," she said."What this is doing is showing them that there areissues outside sport. The interactive element is fantasticas well and it's using all the things that are specific totheir age group."The success of the programme demonstrated theimportant role sport can play in educating young people."Sport is a powerful tool for reaching out to today'syouth on all continents and for educating them early onabout healthy and responsible behaviours," explainedIOC President Jacques Rogge before the first YOGbegan and, by the time the Closing Ceremony broughtthe Games to an end, it was clear that he was right. ?"AT THE UNICEF BOOTH, ATHLETESWERE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN AVARIETY OF ACTIVITIES AND GAMES,ALL OF THEM FOCUSING ON THERIGHTS OF THE CHILDREN AND ONTHE CONDITIONS REQUIRED FOR THEMTO REACH THEIR FULL CAPABILITIES"LeftThe colourful booths attracted, entertainedand engaged the young athletes