Rogge praises enjoyable and creative first Youth Games

Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:33pm EDT
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By Patrick Johnston

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacque Rogge has hailed the inaugural Youth Olympic Games as a fun and innovative event which will become the test ground for future sporting adaptations.

The 68-year-old Belgian, who has suffered much criticism over the event which he has continually pushed for, said he was pleased the athletes had enjoyed the experience and hoped they would continue to if they became full Olympians.

"It has to be enjoyed. The Games cannot be... that bloody serious games," Rogge told two specially invited reporters in Singapore Wednesday.

"It is serious, it is a pinnacle of the career of an athlete but it shouldn't be like a funeral where no one dares to whisper, there must be fun and must be excitement."

The 12-day Youth Games which has featured 3,500 athletes from more than 200 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) competing in 26 Olympic events concludes Thursday and has been praised for the new ideas such as 3-on-3 basketball and mixed gender events.

"I think there will be a lot of innovation coming from these games," Rogge said, whilst being driven from the Olympic village to watch the final of the judo tournament.

"I think this is a very good testing ground for the federations if they want to try something new at a higher level they have to do it here."

The three-times Olympian, who competed in yachting, said he had been asked by International Federations (IF) if they could expand their competitions for future Youth Games but that he was wary of enlarging the competition too soon.   Continued...

<p>Bolivia's players and coach Douglas Cuence (C) celebrate after winning against Haiti at the men's soccer gold medal match at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Singapore August 25, 2010. REUTERS/Issei Kato</p>