By Lauren Mattera at the World Sports Congress in London 

Lillehammer 2016February 26 - Lillehammer 2016 promises its Winter Youth Olympic Village will act as a catalyst for future development in Norwegian sport and is set to leave a lasting legacy as one of the strongest development regions in Northern Europe.

The Norwegian city assures a strong legacy will result from its future Olympic Village - one of the few venues to be built from scratch ahead of the Games - which will provide the region with 360 student housing units for the Lillehammer University College and the Norwegian College of Elite Sport, claimed Magnus Sverdrup, head of project management at Lillehammer 2016, here today. 

"The 2016 Youth Olympic Village will be part of a 10-year plan and will be the engine and tool to identify and develop talent in Norwegian sport," said Sverdrup.

"The Youth Olympic Village represents infrastructure that creates further development in terms of sport and education.

"It will help us find our future athletes, coaches and our future Olympians."

For a city which still benefits from the legacy created in the 1994 Winter Olympic Games, with the majority of venues having originally been built for thoseGames, a sustainable legacy has no doubt been at the heart of the design and construction of the infrastructure.

The Olympic Village, which will be located in the centre of the Olympic Park, has been specifically designed to reduce carbon footprint and is suitable for recreation facilities, Sverdrup claimed.

It will act primarily as athlete accommodation with each housing unit holding up to four of the athletes competing in the Games, and will convert back into student accommodation for both the Lillehammer University College and the Norwegian College of Elite Sport post Games.

Lillehammer 2016 receives IOC flag from Innsbruck 2012Lillehammer 2016 will host the Second Youth Winter Olympic Games after Innsbruck 2012

Lillehammer, which now has a population of around 26,000, has had to accommodate for its ever growing population through major infrastructure developments.

Lillehammer University College has witnessed an impressive rise in the number of its top sports students, from 13 in 1999 to 155 in 2010 - with a quarter of the country's top sport students living or training in the Lillehammer region.

"As the region is a centre for major national and international Winter Sports events in Norway," said Sverdrup.

"We believe it [the Youth Olympic Village] will further boost this development.

"This is important for both the Norwegian National Olympic Committee and Lillehammer as a whole.

Construction on the facility is planned to get underway in August this year and will finish in March 2015 - allowing the city a whole year to test the facilities.

Meanwhile, out of the academic calendar the Youth Olympic Village will be used to welcome young athletes and coaches to come and train at the facilities.

Lillehammer, the only candidate city at the time, won the right to host the second Youth Winter Olympic Games in December 2011 after losing out to Innsbruck to hold the first in 2012.

Preparations for the Games were given a boost after their plans were highly praised following their first inspection from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission late last year.

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