Singapore’s brainchild for promoting sports to the world13 August, 2010 by Chad
After more than 2 years of preparation, the first ever Summer Youth Olympic Games will start in Singapore this weekend on the 14th of August. The two week long event a revamp of the World Youth Games that last took place in Moscow in 1998. Over the next few days, 3600 athletes from around the world will arrive in Singapore to compete in the games.
For once, Singapore doesn’t have to narrow things down to insignificant terms in order to achieve a “World’ First”, so the Youth Olympic Games is certainly something worth being proud of. In fact, the country beat bids from Greece, Thailand, Russia and Italy to emerge the host of the first ever Youth Olympic Games.
According to Yan, commercials promoting the Youth Olympics have been running on local TV for some time now. A monument counting down the arrival of the games has been erected beside the Ion Orchard together with various banners showing off the event’s mascots. A Youth Olympic Park was also built along the Double Helix Bridge some months ago to commemorate the upcoming games .
Yet response from the public has been poor so far and the the event has been bogged down by bad publicity from the media.
A poll by the Channel News Asia website showed that 90% of Singaporeans weren’t interested in the games at all. In fact, according to The Straits Times only 6% of the event’s 320,000 tickets had been grabbed up by the public.
But is it any surprise that Singaporeans are apathetic towards the Youth Olympics? With the exception of the World Cup, sports has never been an active part of Singaporean’s lives. And even then, most are drawn more to the gambling opportunities rather than the game itself.
The timing of the games couldn’t be any worse either. Despite, the fanfare from Singapore’s victory in the bid in 2008, all enthusiasm for the event had already been drowned by last year’s economic downturn. While most Singaporeans are still working hard to recover from the recession, it certainly doesn’t fare well with taxpayers that the event is nearly $300 million over budget.
Yet, the public seem to be focused more on petty complaints that are difficult to take seriously. Drivers have been griping about having to show a basic sense of courtesy toward buses ferrying athletes toward the event. And one citizen even wrote to the Singapore Sports Council complaining that the Youth Olympic mascots were too “kawaii”. I for one feel that the mascots are some of our best yet, though I could see Agnes Chan taking issue to the lolicon Singapore Merlion.Planning your holiday? We recommend visiting Agoda for a full list of hotels with early bird specials.