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Beijings Nanjing boost

Chinese organisers believe Youth Olympics will enhance 2022 Winter Games bid

NANJING Even though criticisms of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing persist Chinese officials believe Nanjings successful staging of the second Youth Olympic Games could boost the Chinese capitals chances of hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Beijing Oslo and Almaty are vying to host the 2022 Winter Games with the decision announced by the International Olympic Committee IOC at 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur in July next year.

Although a success the Beijing Olympics came under heavy criticism including the under-utilisation of many of its venues after the Games after US42 billion S52.5 billion was reportedly spent to organise it making it the most expensive summer Olympics to date.

But Xu Ning executive vice-secretary general of the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee told TODAY that the citys staging of the Youth Olympics which IOC president Thomas Bach described as a resounding success at last nights closing ceremony can help swing Beijings chances of staging the Winter Olympics in eight years time.

I think the world is increasingly gaining confidence in Chinas ability to do things said Xu who personally thanked the Games estimated 20000 volunteers at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre.

Now it is unequivocal from the athletes I have met and the officials I worked with that it is top-class organisation from Nanjing.

Beijing appears favourite to secure the IOCs nod to stage the 2022 Winter Olympics and become the first city to host both the summer and winter Olympics. An online poll this week by Norwegian daily VG reported that 56 per cent of the 1020 respondents were against the Norwegian capitals bid. Norways government has also yet to give its official backing. Kazakhstans capital Almaty the third candidate city is regarded as having an outside chance.

The IOC could also opt for a safer option particularly after how this years Sochi Winter Olympics was mired in controversy including poorly-functioning or missing amenities at the Games Village security threats and Russias anti-gay laws. Former IOC president Jacques Rogge also said Beijing will do a good job if chosen.

Despite the late withdrawals of Liberia Nigeria and Sierra Leone due to the outbreak of the Ebola virus in west Africa the two-week-long Youth Olympics went smoothly.

An estimated 3600 athletes aged 14 to 18 from 201 National Olympic Committees took part with 222 events across 28 sports held at 14 venues. China topped the medal standings with 38 gold 13 silver and 14 bronze. Singapore finished joint-36th with two gold and two silver.

The Games were shown in more than 160 countries. In China up to four hours of daily coverage was shown by China Central Television but strong ratings saw it increase to six hours.

The Games selfie campaign reached 400 million people 24 hours after the opening ceremony but at the closing ceremony last night Bach said Get your smart phones out but do not take a selfie he said. Greet the person next to you and take their picture. Share this token of friendship with the world and post it with the hashtag Nanjing2014.

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