Monday,20 May, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1413, (11 - 17 October 2018)
Monday,20 May, 2019
Issue 1413, (11 - 17 October 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Living the future in Argentina

Fencer Mazen Al-Arabi got it rolling for Egypt at the Youth Olympic Games which Buenos Aires is touting as a tournament of values, reports Inas Mazhar


The third edition of the summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) is currently being held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and runs to 18 October.

The event sees the participation of 3,997 male and female athletes from 206 nations who will compete in 241 events in 32 sports. There will be 286 high adrenaline sports sessions and 1,250 medals to be awarded under the motto ‘Live the Future’.

The 17-year-old Al-Arabi defeated Robert Vidovszky of the US 15-10 to win the bronze medal in the men’s sabre individual after earlier overcoming higher-ranked Samuel Jarry of France in the quarter-finals. “I don’t know how I did it,” Al-Arabi told reporters after receiving his medal.

The Egyptian was looking for a place in the final, especially after beating Peru’s Hudson Santan 15-14 earlier in the competition in the table of 16. He then qualified to the semi-finals but lost to Hungary’s Rabb Kriszitian 15-6 to play Vidovszky for the bronze medal.

The Egyptian delegation is taking part in YOG with 68 athletes -- 39 males and 29 females who will compete in 23 sports: boxing, fencing, karate, shooting, modern pentathlon, equestrian, artistic and rhythmic gymnastics, sailing, weightlifting, rowing, swimming, archery, triathlon, table-tennis, 3x3 basketball, beach volleyball, athletics, futsal, taekwondo, badminton, wrestling, judo and cycling.

Egypt took part in the first edition of the summer YOG in Singapore 2010 and finished 24th with two gold, two silver and two bronze medals. In the second edition in Nanjing 2014, Egypt came in 31st place with two gold, one silver and five bronze medals.

The Youth Olympic Games is an elite sporting event for young people from all over the world. An event distinct from other youth sports events, as they also integrate a unique Culture and Education Programme (CEP), based around five main themes: Olympism, Social Responsibility, Skills Development, Expression and Well-Being and Healthy Lifestyles.

The sports programme is based on that of the Olympic Games, with 28 sports featured on the summer programme and seven on the winter programme. In addition, the programme also includes exciting new disciplines and formats, such as 3-on-3 basketball, ice hockey skills challenge and mixed gender and mixed National Olympic Committee (NOC) events.

Away from the field of play and through a variety of fun and interactive activities, workshops and team-building exercises, the CEP gives the participating athletes the opportunity to learn about Olympic values, explore other cultures and develop the skills to become true ambassadors of their sport.

The games aim to bring together talented young athletes aged 15 to 18 from around the world (205 National Olympic Committees participated in Singapore 2010 and 69 in Innsbruck 2012).

The Summer Youth Olympic Games feature over 3,500 athletes and are held over a 12-day period, while the winter version features over 1,100 athletes and lasts 10 days.
Non-athlete participants, namely the Young Reporters, Ambassadors and Athlete Role Models, are also an integral part of the Youth Olympic Games experience.

And just like the Olympic Games, the Youth Olympic Games are held every four years. The first summer edition was held in Singapore from 14 to 26 August 2010, and the first winter edition was held in Innsbruck, Austria, from 13 to 22 January 2012.

The second Summer Youth Olympic Games was held in Nanjing, China, from August 16 to 28 in 2014 and the second Winter Youth Olympic Games was held in Lillehammer, Norway, in February 2016.

The people of Buenos Aires are hoping the 2018 YOG will create a legacy and become a catalyst for urban and social development in the city. The main focus is on the southern area of the city, where the Youth Olympic Village is being built as well as the venues where most of the competitions will take place. The objective is to leave an actual mark and legacy before, during and after the games, bringing sports closer to the people and carrying out activities that promote culture and education, in addition to boosting urban development through the infrastructure works to be carried out in the city.

Accordingly, since its start four years ago to promote the Olympic spirit, the Buenos Aires 2018 organising committee cultural, sport and educational programme has reached about one million youths. The Olympic flag has been passed between hundreds of schools in the city of Buenos Aires, and the same number of sports initiation activities and talks to promote the Olympic values have been organised.

Al-Arabi celebrates with his coach

In addition, thousands of youths attended the musical comedy produced by the organising committee, which promoted the Olympic spirit at schools in a fun and educational manner.  

The programme ‘One World, Many Worlds’ was launched at the beginning of 2018. Youths from 206 schools of Buenos Aires discovered the history and customs of the 206 member countries of the International Olympic Committee to produce an interactive videogame based on a platform developed by Buenos Aires 2018.

After the opening ceremony at the Obelisk, spectators will have the opportunity to take part in over 1,200 sports initiation activities which will shape the biggest multi-sport celebration in the history of Argentina.

This year’s YOG is not all about sports. The Buenos Aires 2018 pictograms came into existence with the ingenuity of more than 500 primary school students in Buenos Aires. There are 34 pictograms in total, representing sports and disciplines that will compete at the 2018 games.

The instructions were complex: to trace a photograph of an athlete in a pose related to his or her sport in one continuous stroke, without lifting their pencils. The project started with dozens of young Argentine athletes posing for their sport in front of the camera and under the supervision of the Argentine sports federations. Using these pictures, notebooks were made and handed out to the primary students from both public and private schools. The four-month process finished at the desks of graphic designers as they looked for common points among the drawings to create the pictograms. They were then approved by the international federation of each sport.

Furthermore, the Buenos Aires 2018 Organising Committee and the Argentine Sport University Federation (FeDUA), the organisation that brings together universities from Argentina to promote sports and supports the university training of young athletes, created the Young Community Leaders programme, which highlights initiatives that have an impact on communities through sports. Altogether 19 proposals submitted by youths were chosen, which address various topics such as social inclusion, cultural diversity, gender equality, art and sustainability.

The activities by this network of youths, created within the framework of the Youth Olympic Games, promotes initiatives led by youths and training within a multi-cultural environment that celebrates diversity, plurality, hard work and the Olympic values: excellence, friendship, respect.

Buenos Aires 2018 is also expected to represent the largest purchase of sports equipment in Argentine history. In order to allow the development of the competitions, the necessary elements for each discipline will be acquired and materials for the training will be added.
All items received by October have a destination established as part of the legacy of these third Olympic Youth Games: to serve for the development of the next generations of Argentine athletes.

To cite two examples, 7,093 balls of different sports will be used and 10,800 goose pens will be received for the badminton competition. Athletics will demand more equipment than the rest, including discs, javelins, hammers and bullets.

The Youth Olympic Village is the cornerstone in the legacy of Buenos Aires 2018. It was built in the neighbourhood of Villa Lugano, an economically and socially relegated area of the city.

The complex occupies 3.5 hectares and has 31 buildings of up to eight floors with 1,200 homes, and two and three main rooms. After the games, the departments will be inhabited by families that went through an adjudication process through a credit system with accessible interest rates.
The Youth Olympic Village and its adjacencies will be transformed to set up a new open metropolitan park and a new neighbourhood that will promote the development of the southern area of the city.

The Youth Olympic Centre will become a world-class high-performance centre for Argentine athletes and will host 13 of the 32 sports in Buenos Aires 2018.

This scenario will have swimming and diving in the aquatic stadium and will have five pavilions: the Europe Pavilion will host weightlifting and karate; the Asia Pavilion, home of judo and Olympic wrestling events; the Oceania Pavilion, a space where young athletes competing in boxing and taekwondo will participate; the Africa Pavilion, home of fencing competitions and of the same specialty within the Modern Pentathlon; and the América Pavilion, the place of gymnastics in its four disciplines: artistic, rhythmic, trampoline and acrobatic.

In addition, as part of the legacy that the park will have for the future of Argentine sports, there will be two athletic tracks, two hockey courts, two basketball 3x3 courts, two for beach volleyball and two for beach handball. All of them are world class.

The hosts’ mission is to celebrate the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games by promoting the development of the community through Olympic values, especially among young people, and building a lasting legacy for the benefit of the whole society through sport, culture and education. The organisers are to conceive sustainability as one of the essential values, maintaining the balance between the environmental, social and economic aspects of our activity and ensuring compliance with national and international legal requirements and stakeholders.

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