(Reuters) - The second Youth Olympics concluded in Nanjing on Thursday after a spectacular closing ceremony and a glowing endorsement from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Around 2,000 performers were involved in the ceremony, which was attended by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and the IOC president Thomas Bach.
The sporting competition, which began two weeks ago and involved almost 4,000 athletes aged between 14 and 18, had ended on Wednesday with the host-nation finishing as the most successful country with 38 golds, although the IOC did not keep official medals tables.
Chinese swimmer Shen Duo was the most successful athlete of the Games, winning six golds.
The Games broke records for participants, attendances and social media interaction and featured athletes expected to graduate to the Summer Olympics in the years to come.
“You have given us a glimpse of your bright future and the bright future of the Olympic movement,” Bach said in his speech at the closing ceremony.
Bach also praised China’s hosting of the Games, describing them as “perfectly flawless.”
“The Organizing Committee has set a great example for sustainable organization by making use of a legacy and by leaving another great legacy to the people,” Bach said.
“I would like to thank all our Chinese hosts. With your already world-famous efficiency and with your overwhelming friendliness you have made all of us feel at home in this ancient great city, in this modern and dynamic city of Nanjing.”
The Youth Olympics were first held in Singapore in 2010. The first Winter Youth Games were staged two years later, in Innsbruck. The next Winter Games will be in Lillehammer in 2016 before the next Summer Games in Buenos Aires in 2018.
Reporting by Julian Linden in Singapore, editing by Pritha Sarkar