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Singapore’s Olympic dream comes true

It wins right to host YOG 2010; SMEs poised to ride branding boom

(SINGAPORE) Shortly after 7pm yesterday, the Padang erupted. The two-horse, Moscow-versus-Singapore race to host the very first Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2010 had just seen Singapore breast the tape first, and everyone – from the Prime Minister to the other VIPs present to the business community and the thousands of school children – let their emotions show.

‘We dared to dream, we worked hard to pursue our dream despite the odds. Now that dream will become a reality,’ said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to the cheering crowds who had seen the announcement broadcast ‘live’ on a giant screen.

‘It will be the first time that the Olympic flame will be in South-east Asia and in Singapore. We will be the focus of a new era for sporting development for South-east Asia and Singapore,’ PM Lee added.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular, can stand to benefit from the hosting of the YOG.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Community Development, Youth, and Sports, Teo Ser Luck, emphasised that the YOG would be a platform to help local companies, possibly through second-tier sponsorship.

‘Olympics is a big brand name. The main sponsors of the Olympics are global brands. What I hope to do is to have the YOG to bring up the brand awareness of our local companies, especially the SMEs,’ he said.

The win comes after seven months of stiff competition. The initial list of 11 cities was whittled down to two before Singapore pipped Moscow thanks to its top-notch infrastructure, strong governance and security.

The next step for Singapore is to set up an organising committee, which is expected to include people from both the government and private sector. Ng Ser Miang, the International Olympic Committee member from Singapore, is expected to chair the committee.

Elim Chew, president and founder of 77th Street, who has been rallying business associates to show their support, told BT that she had been confident that Singapore would win. ‘We reflect what Olympism is about – youth, spirit and community. The whole nation played a part. In the last one month, the atmosphere really built up,’ she said, adding that the economy would reap rewards. ‘It is important to build up Singapore businesses as it goes back to the economy.’

In recent months, over 700 companies have come forward to back Singapore with whole-hearted support and raise awareness through banners, videos, websites and car decals.

The YOG, which will be held in August 2010, is expected to welcome some 5,000 athletes and officials and will offer contests in 26 different sports.

 

Source: Business Times 22 Feb 08

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