ATHENS: Singapore will host the first Youth Olympics in 2010 after the city-state won 53 out of 97 postal votes, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge announced yesterday.
The new event is designed to generate enthusiasm for the Olympic movement and the Games among the world's teenagers who in recent years have turned away from the Olympics in greater numbers raising the average age of Games' television viewers.
Singapore and Moscow were the only contenders for the event, which is Rogge's brainchild, from an initial field of 11 bidders.
Rogge read out the winner's name at a ceremony held inside the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
"This is a key moment for the Olympic Movement", Rogge told reporters. "Singapore has put together a very exciting project.
"Hosting the Youth Olympic Games for the first time is a great responsibility, and I have every confidence in the team in Singapore."
Moscow won 44 votes.
Singapore will host the Games that will have about 3,200 athletes, aged 14-18, competing in 26 sports and will cost about US$30mil.
Some 800 judges, referees and delegation officials for the summer editions will also be young people.
This is a great honour for all of us, said Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at an outdoor rally of cheering Singaporeans dressed in the national colour of red.
We will be the focus of a new era of sports development. We worked hard to achieve the dream despite the odds.
Singapore has only won one Olympic medal since 1960 but has twice hosted the biennial Southeast Asian Games, with more athletes than the Youth Olympics, and will host them again in 2013.
"I'm a bit surprised and very excited because it is a chance for people from all over the world to gather in Singapore and see what we have to offer," said Rafiuddian Sawal, a student who dressed as an ancient Greek soldier to commemorate the event. Reuters