Nanjing, China: The Vice Premier of China, Liu Yandong, declared the OCA’s 2nd Asian Youth Games open at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre Gymnasium on Friday night. After a kaleidoscope of colours, dance and movement had transported a young boy and girl through the four seasons to reach their dream of the Asian Youth Games, Madam Liu had the honour of putting the final touches to a cultural show full of humour and surprises.
By this time, representatives of the 45 National Olympic Committees had filled the stage, and the official speeches from organizing committee President Li Xueyong, Chinese Olympic Committee President Liu Peng and OCA President HE Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al Sabah had welcomed the athletes, officials, guests and spectators to the 2nd AYG.
Addressing the athletes, aged from 14-17, assembled on stage, Sheikh Ahmad said the future of Asia was gathered in Nanjing.
“The young athletes here are our future,” he said. “Our future gold medal winners at the Olympic Games, our future role models, our future inspiration and our future leaders, not only in sport but in all aspects of society.”
The OCA President also congratulated the organisers on the success of the Virtual Torch Relay, which tapped into the online creativity and innovation of today’s youth as it passed through 209 cities in 45 countries and regions and attracted 33.6 million participants.
The more traditional torch relay ended in the gymnasium with a six-strong Nanjing youth delegation lighting a symbolic cauldron that transferred the flame digitally to the main cauldron in the stadium outside.
The 2nd AYG will run from August 16-24 and feature 122 events in 16 sports.