Youth Olympics off to colourful start

Last Updated 07 October 2018, 11:47 IST

Shooter Manu Bhaker led in the Indian contingent as the Youth Olympic Games opened in a street ceremony witnessed by over two lakh people.

The innovative idea put in shade the dazzling fireworks and the glow in the Buenos Aires night sky. Invited to the one-of-its kind ceremony, the 'Wild Boars' from Thailand were hailed by the International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.

The 'Wild Boars' team captured the attention of the world in June when they were trapped for almost two weeks inside a flooded cave in the Chang Rai province of Thailand.

Bach acknowledged their "strength and resilience".

"They are truly Olympic values and that is why I have asked them to come to Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires to share their experiences with other young athletes," Bach had said as Argentina braced up for its biggest multi-sporting global event.

The Games will bring 4,000 athletes, aged 15-18, from 200-plus countries to Buenos Aires.

A contingent of 68 members from India, including 46 athletes, is in Argentina to compete in 13 sports during the prestigious event. This is India's-largest ever contingent at the Youth Olympics.

The 16-year-old Bhaker, who had won gold in 10m air pistol at Guadalajara World Cup as well as Commonwealth Games, will be among top medal contenders for India.

The show itself was spectacular, with the Olympic rings appearing to float in the air, the Youth Olympic sports being presented on the iconic Obelisk, and numerous tango dancers performing on the balconies of the apartments lining the avenue.

Addressing the young athletes, Bach said: "To get here, each of you trained and competed hard. You gave your best in the sport you love so much. This is why you deserve to be here, at your Games.

"Every athlete is different. We all come from different parts of the world and have different cultures. But we are all united by the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect. Guided by these Olympic values, each one of you makes a difference in sport and in life.

"This experience will stay with you for all your life. We are all assembled here to celebrate you, as the real game-changers."

(Published 07 October 2018, 11:46 IST)

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