Annual youth Olympics turns 50

Annual youth Olympics turns 50

By Hemanshu Chaturvedi | 23 July, 2016
The columnist with the Indian team at the Games.

The International Children’s Game a body to promote sports in youth of the world, celebrated 50thGames in New Taipei city, The games were inaugurated on 12th July, with a spectacular opening ceremony , from hosting of flag to lighting of the Olympic Torch.

The Mayor Mr Eric Chu inaugurated the games and welcomed 2000 athletes and officials from 83 cities across 30 countries. The event had an itenary of three days filled with multi-cultural activities, 2000 volunteers worked day and night to make this event a grand success.  In the closing Ceremony Mr. Chu said “We all are One Family.”The 51st Games will be held in the beautiful city of Kaunas, Lithuania.

Started in 1968, in Celje, Slovenia, by a sports instructor Metod Klemenc with a message to promote peace and friendship among children through sports as a medium, where 9 cities from neighbouring countries would come together for a daylong event. Till 1975, only two or three sports were organized with 150 athletes competing, these games have changed gradually since then, according to Mr. Torsten Rasch .

According to Rash, the turning point of the games was in 1994 when the event was organized outside Europe in Canada and in 2002, the 1st games were organized in Asia in Taipei.  He also mentioned that till 2002 at times 2 to 3 games where organized in a year but after 2002 the games were organized annually to lend importance to the games. Today the games are not only coveted by the athletes but also by the cities who wish to host them.

Till 2019 the venues of the games  has already been decided as the bidding of the games is done much in advance by a host city. The games are hosted by Mayors of the respective cities who file a bidding document . The allotment of the games is done after the visit of the city by the ICG council members who ensure that the host city has the capacity to organize 10 different sports and also are capable of hosting 2000 athletes along with coaches and delegates.

The motto of the Game is to bring children of the world together to compete the  international competition

Thereafter, the host city takes the responsibility for providing all the facilities which include stay, food, transportation, and security of all visitors. Since the visitors do not have to pay for any of the facilities, a city can send a delegation of 32 members for which a normal fee is charged.

The uniqueness of these games is that the team represents the city rather than a country which allows a larger participation from a particular country. Till date over 400 cities have participated in the various editions of the ICG Games. The games are organised professionally with the Olympic rules followed with some changes which are made to accommodate the facilities available with the host city.

The medals are awarded to the winners but interestingly the records are not kept.

Throwing light on this interesting aspect, Mr. Rasch said, “The motto of the Games is to “bring children of the world together to compete at the  international  level“, the idea is to have competition without any restriction. The athletes have a great cultural exchange experience wherein National flags / pins and articles are traded among themselves.

The 51st Games will be organsied in the beautiful city of Kaunas , Lithuania. On speaking to the host, Mr. Andrius and Ms. Vyginta, both of whom promised one of the best experiences to all the visiting delegations  The games will have a unique event of 3v3 basketball and beach vollleyball.

 I am filing this report from ground zero from New Taipei city , where the Delhi team has won a bronze in Taekwondo. I have had the pleasure of being associated with the games since 2004, in Cleveland, USA, where I saw the magnitude of the games which were inaugurated by Mr. George Bush, the then the president of the USA.

Today, the games enjoy the status of Yearly Olympics recognized by the International Olympic Committee. All participating athletes are awarded with certificates bearing the signature of the IOC President .Long live ICG movement.

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