OCI President Pat Hickey and Chief Executive Stephen Martin were joined by pupils from twinned school St Patricks Singapore.
Some 900 students and school officials joined members from the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to dedicate 210 trees in tribute to the unity of the Youth Olympic Games family and to officially open the Olympic Walk. Each tree was adorned with a unique plaque, specially created by students from Singapore schools twinned with the respective NOCs under the Friends@YOG programme. Along with two Olympic-themed sculptures unveiled on 5 August 2010, the trees on the Olympic Walk will be part of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games (Singapore 2010) legacy to the nation.
“The trees planted along the Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade stand tall as a symbol of Singapore’s commitment to international friendship and respect. As a proud member of the Olympic family, we are dedicated to furthering the Olympic Movement and promoting sporting excellence at home and abroad,” said Mr Ser Miang NG, Chairman of the Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee (SYOGOC).
For many students, the NOC Tree Dedication Ceremony represents the first opportunity to meet representatives from their ‘twinned’ NOC. The Friends@YOG programme between Singapore schools and the NOCs was launched in December 2008. Under this programme, all Singapore primary and secondary schools are paired with schools selected by participating NOCs from their territories. Through the programme, the youth in Singapore have the opportunity to learn about their twinned NOC’s people and culture, develop friendships through activities such as cultural exchange programmes.
Gracing the event were Dr Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee; Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, and President of Singapore National Olympic Council; Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports; Mr Sergey Bubka, Chairman, Coordination Commission for the 1st Summer Youth Olympic Games, in addition to NOC representatives and members from the IOC Executive Board.
The impact of Singapore 2010 will be felt well beyond the Games. Permanent physical installations such as the Olympic Walk, the Youth Olympic Park and the Singapore Youth Olympic Museum will be inspiring reminders of the first-ever Youth Olympic Games for many years to come. At the Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade, future generations of sportsmen, educators and artists will be able to discover and embrace the Olympic values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect.
About Singapore 2010 – Blazing the Trail
Singapore will be hosting the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) from 14 to 26 August 2010. The Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games will receive some 5,000 athletes and officials from the 204 National Olympic Committees (NOCs), along with estimated 1,900 media representatives, 20,000 local and international volunteers, and 320,000 spectators. Young athletes – aged between 14 and 18 years – will compete in 26 sports and take part in a Culture and Education Programme.
The Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games aims to inspire youth around the world to embrace, embody and express the Olympic values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect. It will create a lasting sports, culture and education legacy for Singapore and youth from around the world, as well as enhance and elevate the sporting culture locally and regionally.