January 14 - Medellín 2018 has opened the 2013 Festival of Festivals with more than 2,500 young Colombian athletes competing in athletics, basketball, baseball, football, swimming, table tennis and volleyball during the two-week multisport event.
The annual event for 10 to 14-year-olds, which this year ends on January 19, got underway with an Opening Ceremony at the Colombian city's Atanasio Girardot Sports Complex where the young athletes all wore commemorative bracelets of the Medellín 2018 bid.
Organised by the Youth Olympic Games bid committee and Colombian television channel Telemedellín, the broadcasters for the event, the 2013 Festival of Festivals see events are taking place in venues featured in Medellin's bid, while the athletes competing will be of the age to participate in the Youth Games in 2018.
The event, which was established more than 25 years ago, is also being used to promote the bid on behalf of the Mayor of Medellin, Aníbal Gaviria, who is already working to make sport a vehicle for delivering social change.
"Medellín hosting the Youth Olympic Games in 2018 is a dream that will impact the entire community of Medellín, Antioquia and Colombia," bid chief executive Juan Camilo Quintero said.
"We are determined that every citizen is aware of the project, its scope and what it means for the country.
"The focus on youth and sport has played such a significant part of the social transformation of the city these past 10 years, and makes events like this festival as well as the Youth Olympic Games such a perfect fit for Medellín."
The event was also used to launch a photo contest called "Spread the Olympic Spirit" to encourage increased sport participation, with entrants being asked to take photos of those moments that represent the Olympic values during matches at the Festival of Festivals.
2013 represents a critical year for Medellín's bid for the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics.
In February, the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Executive Board are due to announce the shortlisted cities from the five current candidates, which, as well as Medellín, includes Buenos Aires, Glasgow, Guadalajara and Rotterdam and, before formally electing the host city on July 4.
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