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Print Edition> Nation
UPDATED: September 3, 2010 NO. 36 SEPTEMBER 9, 2010
A Win-Win Game
Nanjing looks forward to upgrading its infrastructure and stature by hosting a successful Youth Olympic Games

NANJING COUNTDOWN: Nanjing Mayor Ji Jianye takes over the Olympic flag from Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee, during the closing ceremony of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games on August 26 (SONG ZHENPING)

As the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) of 2010 wrapped up in Singapore on August 26, people turned their attention to China's Nanjing, where the next YOG will be held in 2014. The organizers said they expect the second YOG to be an accelerator for the city's bid to become an international metropolis and for the young event to "grow up."

Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, was awarded the right to stage the 2014 YOG this February, becoming the second Chinese city to welcome the Olympic flame after the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

According to the website of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), some 3,600 athletes ranging in ages from 15 to 18 are expected to compete at the Second Summer YOG in Nanjing in 2014, which will feature competitions in 26 sports.

EXCHANGE OF EXCITEMENT: Chinese swimmer Tang Yi (left) chats with her French competitor after they both won the gold medals for women's 50m freestyle at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games on August 20 (FAN JUN)

Zhu Shanlu, Executive President of the Nanjing YOG Organizing Committee and Secretary of the Nanjing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China, told Xinhua News Agency on August 16 that the YOG will speed up the development of Nanjing.

"Painstaking, down-to-earth efforts are necessary to develop a city. Meanwhile, you also need some opportunities. It has been proven that top sports meets like the Olympic Games can play a crucial role in a city's or even a country's development," Zhu said. "Look at Beijing. The Olympic Games changed Beijing so much."

To prepare the Olympic Games, Beijing added three subway lines, upgraded city roads and reduced pollution by moving the Shougang Group (also known as Capital Iron and Steel Group) out of the Chinese capital and encouraged clean energy in households. The Olympic forest park turned out to be one of the most popular leisure places for residents.

"The Youth Games is a great opportunity. If we make the best use of it, Nanjing's development will make a big leap forward, reaching our goal eight or even 10 years ahead of schedule," he said.

Zhu said Nanjing, aiming to become a greener, people-oriented international metropolis, has a great deal of work to do before the upcoming YOG, including reducing pollution levels and accelerating rail transportation construction.

Compared with the full Olympic Games which often demand huge investment on stadium construction, the YOGs are much cheaper. As the IOC's fresh effort to reach out to young people, the YOG is far more than competitions for medals. Instead, the games are aimed at providing a platform on which young people can learn about Olympic values and benefits of sport, while sharing their experiences with people from around the globe. The inaugural YOG, awarded to Singapore in February 2008, opened on August 14 and concluded on August 26.

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