The Youth Olympic Games 2010, slated to take place from 14 August 2010, was greeted with initial fanfare. When the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced Singapore as the host for the inaugural summer games on 21 February 2008, Singaporeans were generally excited at the prospect of hosting the who's who in sports. Fast forward 2 years, the YOG has failed to attract Singaporeans despite earnest attempts by the state to promote and advertise it. While MyQueenstown Team feels proud and supports Singapore's bid and attempt to host a major sporting event, we felt that the approach taken thus far has been disappointing.
Official Poster for YOG 2010
Before we explore the root of the problem by interviewing Queenstown residents, let us recap at the major issues concerning with Singapore's bid for YOG.
Firstly, the Games Village was initially planned at National University of Singapore. This project was abandoned after rising construction costs amidst a global recession. The Games Village was relocated to the current Halls at Nanyang Technological University and caused inconvenience to the students there.
Secondly, the marketing of YOG has come under scrutiny too. On one hand, The mascots, Lyo and Merly, cannot be easily identifiable. On the other hand, some of the programmes organised by Community Centres and funded by the YOG sponsors, in conjuction with Games, has failed to attract many youths. An example will be "Let's Walk!" conducted by Queenstown Community Centre, which took place on 13th June 2010, were catered specifically to the elderly rather than youths.
Thirdly, in order to facilitate convenience for the participants and officials, road users may be fined $130 for not "giving way" to YOG vehicles. This approach has ruffled feathers among Singaporeans.
Give Way Sign Along Singapore Roads
Despite these hiccups, we believe that the YOG will be carried out smoothly. Young sportsmen and tourists alike will be impressed by Singapore's efficiency and dedication. However, to a heartlander in Queenstown, YOG remains very much a private affair. This begs the question why Singaporeans, Queenstown residents in particular, remains skeptical and oblivious to the Games? Let us find out!
Mdm Yeo Siew Khim, a resident in Tanglin Halt, commented, "Although I'm supporting Singapore's bid for YOG, I'm not going to watch Singapore at the games because it is essentially foreigners representing us! It feels as if we are buying medals (which is against the sporting spirit."
Mdm Siew Khim
Qing Jing, a student at Bukit Merah Secondary School, shares a slightly different opinion. "I'm excited about YOG because it is happening right in my school with the promotional videos... We will be having trips to the YOG Opening Ceremony. However, I feel that more Singaporeans should be inside the YOG team instead of 'Chinese' naturalised Singaporeans. This will make us feel proud of the team."
Mdm Mizah, a housewife who lives in Tanglin, has heard about YOG on television programmes. She says, "I will watch some games but I think the media is not very effective in advertising and promoting the Games so that Singaporeans can identify with them. I am not very excited about it because they are so many foreigners in the Singapore team."
Mdm Mizah and her children
The spirit of Olympics requires "mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play." The main sticking point about YOG isn't the infrastructure, marketing or the 'hard-sell' approach. The main problem lies in the commitment to nurture local talents to participate in these sporting events. While foreign-born naturalised Singaporeans have brought medals, competitive spirit and additional zest in our team, they may deprive a young Singaporean his (or her) dream of representing the nation in a major sporting event. Although Singapore should strive to achieve success at any sporting events such as the YOG, it should not be achieved at the expense of the spirit of Olympics. Winning isn't everything.
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