By Duncan Mackay in Singapore
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year
August 19 - Sergey Bubka, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) member who headed the Coordination Commission for the inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games, has hailed the event as a triumph already.
The pole vault world record holder and 1988 Olympic champion is delighted with how smoothly the operation is running.
Bubka said: "I’m delighted with the way things are going at the start of the Youth Olympic Games and this event will be a huge success.
"I have no doubt that some of the young sportsmen and women we will see in Singapore will go on to become stars in London in 2012 and Rio four years later."
Bubka has already overseen one important new innovation at these Games, with the coaches joining competitors and officials in taking the Olympic oath at the Opening Ceremony last Saturday.
The idea was proposed by Bubka to the IOC and adopted by the governing body before being implemented for the Youth Olympic Games.
Bubka said: "It is essential that coaches understand the responsibilities that fall on their shoulders.
"The Youth Olympic Games made a pledge to encourage coaches to encourage coaches to adopt an even greater appreciation of their influential role with the young sports stars of the future.
"Coaches must not only look at the sporting performance aspects of what they do, but also educate and mentor young athletes and instill them with the ideals of the Olympic Movement and prepare them for not only sport but their future beyond sport.
"If we do not seek to raise standards in all aspects of coaching, we are letting down the younger generation whose dreams and ambitions are so closely linked with the education they receive from their training teams.”
Bubka, who is also senior vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and President of the Ukraine Olympic Committee, runs the Bubka Sports Club in Donetsk, which trains 300 young athletes.
He is also a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, which raises money to promote the use of sport to support disadvantaged young people around the world.
With 3,600 athletes aged 14-18 from from 205 countries taking part in the Youth Olympic Games, Bubka believes that these Games are a huge opportunity for sport to make a difference to the world at large.
He said "I will never cease to be inspired by the way in which sport brings people together and creates a sense of respect and understanding across cultures and nationalities.
"Sport can make a positive change to society.
"I am convinced that the Youth Olympic Games will further inspire young people to become more active and engage in sport to lead healthier, well-balanced lifestyles.
"That includes not only their development in sport but also to learn and understand different cultures and contribute to their appreciation of society and the environment around us.
"These Games in Singapore will promote sport, culture and education, creating a legacy which I believe can only have positive benefits on younger generations."
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