By Nick Butler and Paul Osborne in Nanjing
Click refresh for latest updates. All times stated are Chinese

23:00 Goodnight!

22:58 Join us again tomorrow morning for all the best of the sporting action on day one of Nanjing 2014. Medals will be won in triathlon and shooting first of all, followed by swimming, weightlifting, taekwondo, judo and fencing later on.

We hope the sport follows the high standards seen tonight by the likes of Cauldron lighter, and diving legend Chen Ruolin, as well as by the Ceremony itself.

22:52 For now though, we are going to leave you with some of best pictures of tonight's action.

British Flagbearer Jake Saywell ©TwitterThe Swiss team before the Opening Ceremony ©Twitter

Performers at the beginning of the Opening Ceremony ©Getty Images
The Youth Olympic Cauldron ©AFP/Getty Images

Dancers perform during the Closing Ceremony ©Getty ImagesA section of the Opening Ceremony ©Getty Images

The only unsavoury reaction we have heard relates to the comments that accompanied the Youth Olympic Games YouTube broadcast, many of which were strongly critical of some of the countries competing, including the USA, France, Portugal, Japan and Israel.

We will bring you more reaction to this when we get it.

A bit later than planned, we are back in the Main Media Centre. The rain really is relentless outside, and we had to don rather unflattering waterproof covers to keep off the worst.

But the verdict from everyone we met on the way was that it was a successful start to these Summer Youth Olympic Games. 

Braving the rain after the Opening Ceremony ©Facebook

And there we have it. The Opening Ceremony of Nanjing 2014. Performers are remaining in the stadium but the crowd are leaving their seats.

A fascinating glimpse into China old and new. We will have a quick break while we vacate our slightly uncomfortable media chairs for the relative sanctity of the Working Room, but we will be back soon. 

The Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Flame is lit ©Nanjing 2014
21:59 A final song, "Light up the Future" is playing. No need to explain the thinking behind that one...

Nanjing 2014 Cauldron lit!

21:57 And it is Chen, a double gold medallist at both Beijing 2008 and London 2012 in the platform events who has the honour of being the Final bearer who then lights the Cauldron. She is also from Jiangsu Province.

Cue more fireworks and celebrations.

21:54 The other five consist of badminton legend Lin Dan, race walker Chen Ding, speed skater Zhou Yang, taekwondo player Wu Jingyu and diver Chen Ruolin.

21:50 Six of China's greatest senior athletes are now bringing in the Flame. Among them is Zhang Jike, the world and Olympic table tennis champion. It doesn't get much bigger than that in these parts.

21:46 And now we have a first appearance of Nanjinglele - the pebble mascot for these Games. Around 30 such mascots appear in the centre of a packed stage.

He is paving the way for the entry of the Youth Olympic Flame.

21:41 Five pianists are now playing to signify the five continental federations participating here. They are playing the Symphony of Love, a song that embodies the global dream of youth. 

Zhang He's voyage of discovery ©Nanjing 2014

21:35 A spectacular moment as 100 trapeze artists are suspended overhead by wires connected to a giant crane. The television audience will not be able to see the crane but the affect is not lost here. The performers are from the Songshan Shaolin Tagou Martial Arts School. They are building the Chinese Dream.

This is the same School that staged a performance of Chinese Tai Chi at the Opening Ceremony of Beijing 2008. They also performed "Sail on the Clouds" at the Opening of the Guangzhou 2010 Asian Games.

They are getting an amazing reception from the crowd.

21:32 Back to the action at the front of the stage, and rays of hope are pursuing young "Dream Pursuers across the stage. This is representing the Chinese Dream, which relates to the "Great Renewal" of the Chinese nation in modern times.

The pursuit of peace is another component of the Dream, which ties in nicely with the Olympic values.

21:30 Thomas Bach, meanwhile, is be celebrating another selfie. During the Opening Ceremony this time.

An audacious move by a President who is pulling off the "young and hip" vibe very well this evening... Slightly ironically, considering his great affiliation with the Youth Olympics, I cannot see Bach's Presidential predecessor Jacques Rogge pulling off selfies quite as effortlessly.

Another selfie involving Thomas Bach ©AFP/Getty Images

At the same time as all of this is going on, luminous figures on a raised section to the right of the stage were running on a treadmill. They were representing the youth lighting up the future.

So we are celebrating the past, present and future today.

21:24 And now a giant ship is carried onto the stage, accompanied by at least 20 smaller ones. This is honouring Zhang He, an explorer who led the world's largest fleet six hundred years ago. He led seven successful expeditions spanning 30 countries in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. 

Rather than use his power for expansionist means, he chose to "develop friendship and spread the Chinese culture".

This makes me remember that, until the Industrial Revolution in Europe, China was so far ahead of the rest of the world, from its navy to its materials. 

21:18 This whole section is honouring the Silk Road, the main trade route that connected China with the Western world. Named the "Silk road", unsurprisingly, because it was the means by which the product was transported to Europe. 

21:16 This is a far more classical affair than Glasgow 2014, as we expected. The trick is in the visual and the meaning rather the slightly more "in your face" style of the Commonwealth Games entertainment.

It's very Chinese and very good. 

21:12 A segment honouring China's many contributions to world history now. "Porcelain is one of the great inventions of Ancient China," we are told. 

We are told this at the same time as three dancers appear, each dressed in blue, red and yellow. The dancers, I can tell you, are wearing "Yunjun Brocade", a type of silk that originated in the Nanjing region 1,597 years ago. 

This is "an oriental treasure and a gem of Chinese culture".

Twitter logoEl presidente de China, Xi Jinping, declaró abiertos los Juegos Olímpicos de la Juventud @nanjing2014yog @youtholympics 
- Some reaction from Buenos Aires 2018, the host city for the next edition of the Summer Youth Olympics in four years time. 

21:06 A performance themed "The Night of the Future" begins proceedings, featuring illuminated bicycles performing tricks. 

It's not quite kangaroos on bicycles like in the Sydney segment of the Atlanta 1996 Closing Ceremony but it's certainly an exciting start. 

21:03 And then, after an hour of pageantry, we are told to enjoy the Opening Ceremony itself as the entertainment begins. 

Now Nanjing. what have you got? In my short time as journalistic, I have been wowed by Sochi and entertained by Glasgow. How will this one compare?

21:01 Then we have the various Oath's, read out by one representative of the athletes, officials and coaches. The Athletes Oath was read out by Fang Zhendong, a table tennis player who is ranked third in the senior men's singles rankings.

Zhou Qiurui and Li Rongxiang are the chosen representatives for officials and coaches. 

Surely the stand out individual competing at these Games, so a fitting choice to represent the 3,000 plus athletes. 

20:58 We have another opportunity to stand now as the Olympic Anthem is played for the raising of the Olympic Flag to hover alongside the Nanjing 2014 one in the Chinese night sky. 

Fireworks light up the sky as Nanjing 2014 begins ©AFP/Getty Images

20:53 And Xi Jinping, the Chinese President, declares Nanjing 2014 underway. 

20:48 "Ni Hao", says Bach to begin proceedings. "Dear young athletes these are your Games.

"This is your moment

"So young athletes please join me, we should all capture it. Get your smart phones out and lets set a record for selfies.

"It is also about sharing, learning and making friends across the globe.

"You are here to enjoy the competitions and to deliver your personal best performance
you are here to celebrate the Olympic spirit.

"Enjoy your Games."

"Our Chinese hosts with their great friendliness, their wonderful hospitality and world famous efficiency have already set the stage

"So please join me all in thanking the Chinese people, the people of Jiangsu Province and the people of this great city of Nanjing. Thank you very much.

"And now I have the honour to invite his excellent, President Xi Jinping. to open the 2014 Nanjing Summer Youth Olympic Games.

The heads of the IOC and Nanjing 2014 speak at the Opening Ceremony ©Twitter

20:46 Next up is Thomas Bach. "Olympic champion in fencing, Montreal 1976," is part of his introduction. 

20:43 The parade has finished and we are straight onto speech by the President of the Nanjing 2014 Organising Committee, Li Xueyong.

He spoke about how good all of the preparations have been and how he is looking forward to the beginning of the Games. 

Paul Osborne"Typically Chinese. That is easily the best way to describe this Opening Ceremony so far. From the hundreds of officials always on board to escort you from place to place, to the immaculate speed and precision used to clear water from the stage, every thing has been rehearsed to a tee. As expected it is already an incredible spectacle. Not quite the size and dazzle of Beijing but that's what should be expected from a Youth Olympic Games."
- Reporter Paul Osborne reflects on the Opening Ceremony so far. 

20:40 There are huge cheers but that is possibly because she came out alongside the the Chinese Flagbearer Dilixiati Dilana, a 3x3 basketball player. 

20:39 And next enters Margret Rumat Rumar Hassan, the lone competitor from the world's newest country, South Sudan, who is competing as an Independent Olympic Athlete here in Nanjing as her nation does not yet have an NOC.

20:36 We are getting closer to the arrival of the Chinese team, that will conclude the parade. Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uruguay are the latest trio to appear, followed by Vanuatu.

20:32 Sierra Leone are marching out. The West African country withdrew from the Games earlier this week due to the Ebola outbreak, but they have a single official here, who was invited to carry the Flag this evening.

A nice touch, I feel. 

20:27 Several other nations which have experiences hardship in recent months, Palestine and The Philippines, appear now. Thomas Bach met young athletes from Syria and Ukraine yesterday and these Games are another reminder of how sport can bring people together at a time of conflict. 

20:24 The host nation of the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games, Norway, parade now. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping is enjoying the parading of the Flagbearers ©AFP/Getty Images

20:19 But then there are boos as Mia Aquino leads out the Japanese team.

Relations between the two countries are still very tense, with the two Asian powers locked in a dispute over who should own a group of islands known either as Senkaku or Diaoyu depending on which country you are in.  

Nanjing was also the location for one of the Second World War's darkest moments, a massacre by the Japanese of Chinese civilians which caused up to 300,000 deaths. 

20:17 Big cheers as Hong Kong march out. The camera cut to Chinese President Xi Jinping applauding and the crowd immediately joined in. 

20:14 A nice moment as Guinea appear. They are the only country affected by the Ebola outbreak still participating in the sport. 

20:10 It is a theme of the Youth Olympics, seen in Singapore 2010, that the athletes do not participate in the Ceremony. It detracts slightly from the excitement of a bulk appearance but it certainly speeds things up.

We are speeding past France and Great Britain already...

The athletes are sitting behind the flags at the opposite of the stadium to where we are sitting. 

Twitter logoCome and join us, the #OpeningCeremony has begun! #nanjing2014 @youtholympics
- Nanjing 2014 on the beginning of the Opening Ceremony.

20:05 Now we are straight onto the parade of the Flagbearers. No teams are alongside the bearers so we are already speeding through the letter "A" as they appear in alphabetical order. 

Each is accompanied by one figure carrying a card with the NOC's name. 

20:02 The Chinese Flag is being brought into the Stadium. I feel we are only the only people in the entire Stadium not in our feet for the National Anthem of the host nation, but it is really not conducive with the live blog. It is being sung with some gusto that a lot of football teams could learn from. 

These Games are another opportunity for one of the world's most powerful countries to show itself to the world. 

Opening Ceremony begins!

20:00 Fireworks burst into the sky as the Opening Ceremony of Nanjing 2014 begins!

19:59 The atmosphere is rocking now, with virtually every seat filled. And the countdown is underway. 10, nine, eight...

Mopping and clearing ahead of the Opening Ceremony ©ITG

19:57 Mopping over, and a wave of volunteers and Flagbearers have appeared to greet the arrival of IOC President Thomas Bach alongside Xi Jinping, the President of China.

I don't think they are planning on a selfie somehow...

19:55 A key moment now as more mopping takes place before the Ceremony begins: one of the first selfie's of Nanjing 2014!

And IOC chief Thomas Bach is involved as he bonds with Young Olympic Reporters.

First selfie of Nanjing 2014!

One of the first selfies of Nanjing 2014 ©Nanjing 2014

As I speak a vast number of officials, all just dressed in black, have rushed into the Stadium to remove the drenched plastic sheet covering and mop the floor. As ever, in China, it is done with meticulous preparation and utter efficiency. 

The organisation and focus on these Games has been striking already in the 24 hours we have been here, from the Nanjing 2014 posters distributed - quite literally - absolutely everywhere in the city, to the multitude of green and white shirted volunteers on hand to help with our many queries. 

This was something that was also seen in Nanjing last year during the Asian Youth Games, but it has stepped up another notch now. 

19:44 Thanks to Lillehammer 2016, the host of the next edition of the Youth Olympics, for that photo as the atmosphere continues to build here. 

It will be a little colder in Norway, I imagine, but the rain is still falling here at the moment, with all the performers in the pre-show doing an excellent job of coping. 

A shot of the Opening Ceremony preparations with less than half an hour to go ©Twitter

19:38 An issue which remains very relevant, especially for us here, is the continuation of the "Will be, Won't we" have social media access saga. Bach admitted there were problems but that the IOC are working with the Organising Committee and they will be rectified soon. 

We can report that it is working very well at the moment - although the fact that there are no tables or power cables in the media stand is making things a little hard. The old laptop on knee trick is working admirably at the moment,..

19:34 Unsurprisingly, this was one of the issues brought up in a press conference with IOC President Thomas Bach earlier. Here is our latest story on this.

Bach also spoke about a range of other topics, including potential changes in the Olympic sport programme as part of the ongoing Olympic Agenda 2020 reform process. 

19:28 Away from the Opening Ceremony, the big story here so far is the ramifications of the terrible Ebola outbreak - with Nigeria having officially followed Sierra Leone and Liberia in withdrawing from the Games today,

Guinea, however, will compete. 

19:20 We have already brought you a number of the other Flagbearers participating tonight. Visit the Nanjing 2014 section of insidethegames for more coverage. 

The US team en route to the Opening Ceremony ©Twitter

It has been rumoured that, even though the team are not attending the Games as the Ebola outbreak continues in West Africa, a Sierra Leone official is here, and will carry his country's flag tonight. 

Twitter logoNanjing 2014 Opening Ceremony Team TTO flag bearer Dylan Carter. Youth Olympics. Represent Team TTO red black and white and Proud! 
Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee President Brian Lewis tweets his excitement to tonight's event. 

19:12 There is a very Chinese feel to proceedings so far, with a marching band currently performing as part of the pre-show before the Ceremony properly gets underway at around 20:00.

I would say the venue is around half full at the moment but it is filling up by the minute.

We are expecting something fairly spectacular tonight as China has another opportunity to show itself to the world.

"Not as elaborate as Beijing 2008," was the verdict of one person lucky enough to have attended the rehearsal that I spoke to earlier. "But not far behind!"

19:06 I was about to say that the most obvious difference to Glasgow was the weather. But as I look up, there is some distinctly Glaswegian-style rain falling in the centre of the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre in front of me - we are safely covered in the stand here thankfully.

I don't think we will be hearing much in the way of The Proclaimers later, however. Or kilts and haggis, for that matter.

The insidethegames team in position for the Opening Ceremony ©ITG

19:00 Hello and welcome back to the insidethegames live blog for all the best of the coverage from the 2nd Summer Youth Olympic Games!

It is 13 days since, and a few thousand miles away from, the Closing Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but there is a bit of a sense of déjà vu as we are back for the Opening Ceremony of Nanjing 2014 over the next four hours.

And a lot of excitement as well!