Celebrations marking 99 days to go until the inaugural Youth Olympic Games were held across the host city of Singapore today, with the Singapore Organising Committee (SYOGOC) enthusiastically proclaiming: "We are ready!"
Thousands turned out to take part in celebratory events ranging from athletic competitions and sports carnivals to fireworks displays as the nation prepares to make history by becoming the first-ever host of the Games for young Olympians from 14-26 August.
The highlight of the day's activities was the "99-Day Celebration" at *Scape, which was attended by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Education Minister Ng Eng Hen, Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, SYOGOC Chairman Ng Ser Miang and International Olympic Committee Coordination Commission Chairman Sergey Bubka. The programme for the 99-Day Celebration included the unveiling of the venue-dressing designs and workforce uniforms for the Games, cultural and musical performances, sports activities and a keynote speech from Prime Minister Lee. Some Worldwide Olympic Partners and domestic marketing partners also joined in the celebrations by promoting sports from the summer programme at their countdown booths.
"As we move closer to the start of the Games, I can feel the excitement and buzz in the community growing with each passing day. Many National Olympic Committees and International Federations are finalising their team preparations for Singapore 2010, and I am confident that SYOGOC and the IOC are ready to welcome the world to Singapore for this historic event," said Ng Ser Miang.
The International Olympic Committee marked the milestone date by releasing a photograph competition on Flickr to capture the spirit of the Youth Olympic Games and by releasing '99 seconds', video interviews with Youth Olympic Games Ambassadors Michael Phelps and Yelena Isinbayeva. The group of 30 Young Ambassadors, nominated by a pilot group of National Olympic Committees, also celebrated '99 days to go' in their regions and communities.
The Coordination Commission concluded its fourth and final visit to the city the same day. SYOGOC is on schedule in its final preparations to deliver the first edition of the Youth Olympic Games.
"With a very strong team and since the beginning of the preparations, the Singapore Organising Committee has worked diligently to ensure the best possible experience for everyone involved," Bubka said. "Today we can see and feel that the excitement is already there and will continue to build until Games time, especially with the Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame. I speak for the IOC when I say that we are very much looking forward to the Opening Ceremony in 99 days!"
The Youth Olympic Games in Singapore will bring together 3,600 athletes between 14 and 18 years of age from all 205 National Olympic Committees to compete in the 26 sports on the London 2012 Olympic Games programme. A culture and education programme will raise participants' awareness of the Olympic values and topics such as healthy lifestyles and the fight against doping. A number of communications initiatives will link the youth of the world with the event. A culture programme will ensure a festive atmosphere within the host city.
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