Buenos Aires 2018: Youth Olympic Games moves into South America for the first time

Team Singapore will be represented by 18 athletes in 10 sports at the 2018 YOG

06 Oct 2018

By Justin Kor

Two years ago, Rio De Janeiro saw the world’s best athletes gather for the Olympics Games when it was held on South American soil for the first time.

The sporting spotlight now shifts to neighbouring Buenos Aires where the third summer edition of the Youth Olympic Games will be held. For 12 days, over 4,000 of the best young athletes from 206 countries will converge onto Argentina’s capital city for a chance at sporting glory.

After Singapore and Nanjing hosted the last two summer editions, the Games has now made the move out of Asia into Latin America.

Living up to its slogan – Feel the Future – the ‘Paris of the South’, as the city is often called because of its rich European heritage, will host a Games that promises to be one of many firsts.

The Olympic Rings are craned into position at the Obelisk for the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. Photo: Joel Marklund for OIS/IOC

In an unprecedented move, the opening ceremony will be held along the open streets on Oct 6, away from a traditional stadium setting. Instead, thousands of athletes, fans, and volunteers will gather downtown near the city’s iconic Obelisk monument for a carnival-like celebration.

Out on the playing field, an equal number of male and female athletes will compete in 32 sports for the first time as well, as the Games looks to focus on the theme of gender equality.

To actively engage youths and pique their interest in the Games, organisers will bring the Games directly to them through an innovative park concept.

Four parks, based at locations where youths typically gather, will host most of the events. They will be free to access, allowing everyone to be part of the festivities. Spectators can not only watch sports, but also take part in the cultural, recreational, and educational activities available.

The Youth Olympic Park, Urban Park, Green Park, and Tecnópolis Park will each carry a different theme centred around the Games. For instance, the Urban Park will focus on youth and street culture, featuring events like BMX freestyle and 3×3 basketball.

Four new sports will be making their debuts: karate, dance sport, roller sports, and sport climbing. Karate and sport climbing will also be part of the sporting agenda at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Enter Team Singapore

Eighteen young Team Singapore athletes, headed by chef de mission Tao Li, will make the 15,700 km trip to the Argentine capital to compete in 10 different sports.

Each will be looking to make their own mark on the Games.

Out on the track, high jumper Kampton Kam seeks to leap to even greater height at the Games after setting four personal bests over the past few months.

Triathlete Emma Middleditch will be confident of making a strong start after finishing first at the Asian qualifiers for the YOG earlier this year.

Along the way, sacrifices were made and heartbreaks endured. Just ask paddler Goi Rui Xuan, who took leave from her studies at the start of this year to train and compete full-time for two years.

After originally missing out on a place in the YOG, an injured Mark Chan competed through the pain barrier for months, hoping for another chance at redemption. Now he will be the first sports climber to represent Singapore at an Olympic Games.

Months of preparation have boiled down to this. In just a few days, the world’s eyes will be on them when they compete in a city that is poised to take the YOG to the next level.

To watch the Games, check out the Olympic Channel and OKTO/Toggle for updates.