Going for Gold
The Nanjing Youth Olympic Games combine sporting events with cross-cultural education for young athletes
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Special> Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games> Beijing Review Exclusive
UPDATED: August 25, 2014 NO. 35 AUGUST 28, 2014
Many Countries, Many Athletes, One Olympics

In addition to hosting sporting events, the Nanjing Youth Olympics promotes the sharing of experiences among young athletes from around the world. On behalf of Beijing Review, reporter Xu Hao of China Report spoke to four participants about their lives, thoughts and aspirations.

Milica Babic

Milica Babic, 17, Serbian Competing in the shooting event, Babic is a high school student and champion of a national shooting competition. Babic is excited about her first visit to China. She said that she has always wanted to visit, but never had the chance to do so. She feels honored to participate in the Nanjing Youth Olympics.

"I like Nanjing very much. The local people are cheerful and friendly and everything is well organized," Babic said. She was particularly impressed with the opening ceremony of the Games.

"It's an exciting and magnificent ceremony. I was thrilled when the cauldron was lighted."

Babic's interest in the country spans from the Great Wall to Chinese calligraphy. In order to learn more about China, she often visits the Chinese Culture Booth in the Olympic Village and takes part in the cultural activities set up by the organizing committee. After the Games, she hopes to visit the ancient city wall of Nanjing built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Talking of future plans, Babic says she will work toward taking part in the adult Olympic Games and winning medals.

Tianna Kennett

Tianna Kennett, 17, Canadian A student in the 11th grade, Kennett began wrestling in 2011, and has won silver in the event at the Pan American Games.

This is her first time in China.

"I like Chinese food, which is very yummy," said Kennett, an avid cook as well as athlete. When not training, she uses her spare time to visit the culture huts in the Olympic Village to learn about other countries' cultures.

In the future, Kennett hopes to become a psychiatric nurse, regarding such work as very meaningful and beneficial to the community.

"I wish all the athletes good luck in the Games," she said with a smile.

Ivo Bonacin

Ivo Bonacin, 18, Croatian Bonacin started rowing in 2006 and has championed several national tournaments.

During his stay in the Olympic Village, Bonacin has taken part in many cultural activities to learn about different countries and made friends with athletes from around the world.

Talking about his impressions of Nanjing, Bonacin said that the city is very beautiful and people are quite friendly, especially the volunteers who have worked so hard and have offered him assistance.

Lin Yanqun

Lin Yanqun, 18, Chinese Hailing from Weihai, east China's Shandong Province, Lin is a professional handball athlete. She started to play in 2007 and later won second place in a national youth handball tournament.

The outgoing teenager has had a lot of interactions with foreign athletes in the Olympic Village. She even taught foreign athletes to sing Chinese songs during a cultural activity.

"The popular Chinese hit Little Apple, which went viral on the Internet, is very popular in the village. I want to dance to the song together with my new foreign friends," she said.

Lin was able to watch the opening ceremony of the Games in person and felt a deep sense of pride. "I want to train hard and make a name for my country in the Games," Lin said.

Email us at: yanwei@bjreview.com

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