Games spark Nanjing's passion for sports

Updated: 2013-08-26 00:00

By Zheng Xin and Tang Zhe (China Daily)

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The 2nd Asian Youth Games held in Nanjing recently has ignited the city's passion for sports, said the executive chairman of the games' organizing committee.

"This is a precious legacy left for the city," said Yang Weize, adding that the games left the public with state-of-the-art facilities.

The games, which ran from Aug 16-24, attracted more than 2,600 young athletes from 45 countries and regions on the continent to compete in 122 events in 16 sports.

Li Jiang, publicity officer of the Nanjing Sports Institute, which hosted the tennis and badminton competitions, said the facilities would be open to the public after the games concluded.

Li said the number of public facilities for sports in Nanjing is far short of satisfying the entire population. The opening of the institute's facilities, as well as many other venues used for the games, will greatly fill that gap, she added.

The institute is also working on opening training camps for city youngsters interested in learning tennis and badminton, she said.

The Jiangning Sports Center and Nanjing Olympic Center Stadium will also open most of its facilities to the public.

"We have seen a growing appetite for engaging in various sports games with mature facilities," said Cheng Yuan, publicity officer of the Nanjing Olympic Center Stadium. "Every citizen in Nanjing can greatly benefit from the legacy of the games."

Cheng also said the venues will also host a wide array of athletic events.

"For any city hosting the games, one of the legacies is the sport facilities left to society and future generations," said Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, president of the Olympic Council of Asia.

"The games always help physical education because of the host city's investment in its sports facilities. The games also give citizens a chance to understand the culture of sports and participate in sports."

Liu Yi'an, deputy director of the organizing committee of the games, echoed Al-Sabah's sentiment.

"The games are more about the promotion of a green life," he said.

The Asian Youth Games served as a dress rehearsal for the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics, which will also be held in Nanjing.

"The volunteers during the games are confident that they will do a good job of welcoming the next batch of athletes and visitors next year," Li said.

Al-Sabah spoke highly of the standard of the games.

"Though the organizing committee has decreased its budget, which is even smaller than the Singapore games (in 2009), the quality and publicity of the games are of a very high standard," he said.

"I'm very proud and grateful for the city and citizens of Nanjing. They are delivering a very good message to the world that Nanjing is qualified to host any game whatever its size."