Archive for August, 2014

FIBA Basketball World Cup gets qualification for Rio 2016 underway

August 29th, 2014

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Rio 2016

Brand awareness contributes to bright prospects for Guatemalan sport

August 29th, 2014

To put her achievement in its true context, this was just the third medal ever won by Guatemala on an Olympic stage. Guatemalan pride and joy were given a further boost in Nanjing when Brand’s team-mate Wilmar Madrid also took a bronze in the men’s shooting competition.

The achievements of these two heralds the dawn of an unprecedented era in Guatemala’s Olympic story, a country still feeling the effects of a 36-year civil war that ended in 1996.

“For Guatemala, it’s really a huge thing, I never realised that before now,” said Brand, whose bronze medal was earned in the international team event.

“We are a small country and we aren’t as well developed like the USA, or places in Europe. For us it’s really special, unique and a dream come true.”

Guatemala’s Young Ambassador at Nanjing 2014 is Gabriela Matus, who said there has been a clear change in the attitude to sport in the country over the last few years.

“I think it comes first of all from the NOC [National Olympic Committee]. They are trying to give more support than other years to most of the athletes,” said Matus. “But it’s also the national federations. They are giving lots of support.”

Brand and Madrid doubled the Guatemalan haul compared with their showing at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, Singapore 2010, where shooter Geraldine Kate Solorzano won a bronze

The country’s first ever medal at an Olympic Games came just two years earlier at London 2012, when Erick Barrondo claimed the silver in the 20km walk.

Matus said the two Nanjing 2014 Games medallists could expect a large welcome party at Guatemala City airport when they land.

“The other thing I like about Stefanie and Wilmar is that they are not showing off to everybody. They are not saying ‘Aha, I won a medal’. They’re like ‘OK, I will savour it, but I have to go for more’,” added Matus.

Brand hopes to play big part in Guatemala’s Olympic ascendancy. But while she has already made the senior national team, she recognises that the challenge of qualifying for Rio 2016 or Tokyo 2020 means moving up a level and that patience and persistence will be essential. 

“In my sport everyone is around 30 years old,” she explains. “You have to work hard for many years. It’s my dream, but I’m realistic about when it will happen.”

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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games

Hauma proud to help put Tuvalu on the Olympic map

August 29th, 2014

While it was some way off the 64.14m gold medal-winning throw by China’s Cheng Yulong, that took nothing away from Hauma’s sense of pride in his achievement, who has to accommodate his training programme back home within a packed schedule.

“We have heaps of chores to do back home like feeding the pigs and cleaning the house. There’s not much time for training,” he explained.

“I usually train at the sports ground, but sometimes I do not train at all because we don’t have the resources. We don’t have a proper field,” said Hauma, who is currently undecided as to whether he will stay in Tuvalu or seek a scholarship to further his studies and sporting ambitions overseas.

Tuvalu is the fourth smallest country in the world, measuring around 26 square kilometres, and has a population of less than 11,000. Its National Olympic Committee (NOC) first participated in an Olympic Games at Beijing in 2008.

In Nanjing, the Tuvalu delegation in Nanjing comprised three athletes – Hauma and the women’s beach volleyball pair of Valisi Sakalia and Loluama Eti.

Hauma’s discus coach, Esau Teagai, believes that one of the many benefits of attending the Youth Olympic Games is to network with other NOCs, coaches and experts. “It’s another step for our country to develop in sports, especially athletics,” he explained.

“Being here at the Youth Olympic Games, we can experience new [coaching] techniques and socialise with others. We don’t have the coaching expertise specific to some sports, and that’s why we’re still in a developing phase.”

Tuvalu’s chef de mission, Viliamu Sekifu, agrees wholeheartedly. “The Youth Olympics has the top junior athletes in the world, so it’s good that we can come here and our athletes can see what is happening,” he said.

“We can compare it to our country and the gaps that we have, and that we need more time and funding to develop. If we work together with the government and the NOC to assign some money to our athletes, we hope we can achieve what top athletes are achieving today. We are humans, we can do everything, and we know that it’s only the lack of training facilities, opportunities and coaches [that is holding us back].”

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Young Ambassador talks sport at UNESCO World Youth Forum in Nanjing

August 28th, 2014

The World Youth Forum on Sport, Culture and Peace, jointly hosted with the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee (NYOGOC), was held during the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games (YOG); a unique platform for 3,800 athletes and other participants from across the world to gather together, compete against one another, share their experiences and learn from each other.

As one of 104 Young Ambassadors for the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games selected by their National Olympic Committees, Stephanie was tasked with ensuring her athletes got the most out of their YOG experience by taking part in the culture and education activities on themes such as healthy cooking, anti-doping, time management and media training.

Paying tribute to the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games and addressing the value of sport in inspiring and empowering young people as well as uniting them through shared values, UNESCO invited the IOC Young Ambassador to speak of sport as a tool for development, peace and social inclusion. As an Olympian, a student and a young citizen actively engaged in spreading the Olympic spirit, Stephanie shared her experience and views on the positive role sport and athletes can play in society.

“As a Young Ambassador at the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games, I have had the opportunity to meet inspiring young people from five continents and to build friendships”, stated the 22-year-old. “I have experienced first-hand the power of sport in bridging divides, in bringing people together and in instilling values such as fair play, respect and friendship.”

In a release published on the occasion of the World Youth Forum, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova echoed sport’s and culture’s capacity to empower, unite and drive social change: “We must craft new ways to support youth by leveraging the transformative power of culture and sport. These fundamental forms of human expression reflect values at the core of the Olympic Movement, which are essential for tolerance and solidarity.”

Other International Organisations, such as UNAIDS, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Federation, the International Fair-Play Committee, the International Olympic Academy and the International Olympic Truce Center, have also been able to introduce young athletes and local young people to the benefits and positive values of sport as well as foster their interest and understanding of global issues, through their activities in the framework of the  YOG Culture and Education Programme.

Last week, fellow IOC Young Ambassador Hamza Chraibi was also invited to join a UNAIDS panel on Inclusive Partnerships for Health, Sports and Development through South-South and Triangular Cooperation alongside IOC International Cooperation and Development Director Lindsay Glassco, to highlight the importance of the engagement of young people and the sports community in the fight against HIV/AIDS

Sport: a tool for positive change and social inclusion

As stated in the Olympic Charter and as demonstrated across a wide variety of projects and programmes coordinated or supported by the IOC around the world, sport is and can be an effective tool to promote and further social and individual change. It is an integrative force that facilitates dialogue within and between communities, and breaks down barriers.

Making sport a reality for social inclusion requires expert partners who deal with social issues on a daily basis. The IOC has been able to count on many partners over the years, in particular, the United Nations and its various agencies and programmes, with which it has long-standing cooperation. UNESCO is one such agency which has often joined forces with the IOC in the areas of culture, promotion of physical education and sport for development. Although the UN and the IOC have very different roles in society, they share many core values and work together to put sport and physical activity at the service of human development.

Learn more about IOC initiatives to build a better world through sport

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Innovative Nanjing delivers bright future for Youth Olympic Games

August 28th, 2014

After the hugely successful debut of 3×3 basketball at the first edition of the Summer YOG in Singapore in 2010, other new formats have made a popular introduction at Nanjing, including hockey 5s, the 8x100m relay in an urban venue in athletics, and a basketball skills contest. In addition, rugby and golf made their first Olympic appearance ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, and more International Federations rolled out mixed-country and mixed-team competitions.

Talking at his closing press conference earlier in the day, IOC President Thomas Bach said, “These have been the Youth Olympic Games of innovation.”

For the second edition of the Summer YOG, the IOC introduced the Nanjing 2014 Sports Lab, where 3,000 visitors came daily to watch and try the showcased sports of roller sports, skateboarding, sport climbing and wushu; and this concept is already being considered for future Youth Olympic Games.

After the IOC President urged all the young athletes at the Opening Ceremony to share their YOG experience as a way of inspiring their communities back home to become more active, he concluded the Games tonight by asking them to extend the hand of friendship once again. “In the Olympic spirit, greet and thank the person next to you and take their picture,” he encouraged the audience at the Closing Ceremony. “Share this token of friendship with the world and post it with the hashtag Nanjing 2014.”

Social media played an unprecedented role in Nanjing in terms of getting the athletes to engage with each other and their peers. The #YOGselfie campaign reached over 400 million people in the first 24 hours after the IOC President mentioned it at the opening of the Games. In China alone, 56 million people have posted using the #YOGselfie hashtag, and 147 million have posted to #nanjing2014. Some 600,000 interactions were also registered via YOGGER, a small device similar to a USB flash drive given to each participant that allowed them to effortlessly exchange personal information and become instant friends.

Another unique element of YOG, the Culture and Education Programme, was significantly enhanced for this edition. A total of 104 Young Ambassadors were chosen to support the delegations; 38 Athlete Role Models shared their experiences and advice; and 35 Young Reporters provided coverage of the Games. The activities on offer not only helped the participants to better understand important issues such as leading healthy lifestyles and the dangers of doping, but also taught them about the meaning of the Olympic values and what it means to behave in a socially responsible manner. These activities, aimed at helping athletes in their future lives and careers, attracted a record number of 100,000 participations.

After praising the 18,000 dedicated volunteers, who will be one of the many strong social legacies of these Games, President Bach commended the seamless organisation and efficiency of the Chinese hosts, who used many existing world-class venues and facilities from the 2005 Chinese National Games and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

“The organisation of these Games was perfectly flawless. I would like to thank all our Chinese hosts. With your already world-famous efficiency and with your overwhelming friendliness you have made all of us feel at home here in Nanjing, in this great ancient city, in this modern and dynamic city of Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province.” President Bach said.

Read the full speech of IOC President Bach here


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Bright future for the Youth Olympic Games

August 28th, 2014

In line with the vision of the YOG to use existing venues, President Bach started by commending the organisers, “We have an organising committee that was not only an efficient one, but also a very sustainable one. I congratulate them on making excellent use of existing venues and facilities from the 2005 Chinese National Games and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.”  

A popular addition to the Games has been the brand new Nanjing 2014 Sports Lab concept, where roller sports, skateboarding, sport climbing and wushu were showcased in one space attracting some 3,000 visitors per day.  “We are very happy about the success of the ‘Sports Lab’, and we are already are thinking about its future and what role it can play in the Youth Olympic Games,” said President Bach.

Nanjing also witnessed the resounding success of new events such as 5-a-side hockey and an 8x100m relay in athletics; new sports – golf and rugby; and confirmation of the extraordinary appeal of the mixed team and mixed country events. As the IOC President affirmed, “These have been Youth Olympic Games of innovation.” 

Social media played a unprecedented role in Nanjing to engage with the young athletes. The #YOGselfie campaign reached over 400 million people in the first 24 hours after the IOC President mentioned it at the Opening Ceremony. In China alone, 56 million people have posted #YOGselfie and 147 million #nanjing2014. Some 600,000 interactions were also registered via YOGGER, a key given to each participant to share contacts.

The athletes were also given the opportunity to take part in a number of fun and educational activities that will not only help them better understand important issues such as leading healthy lifestyles and the dangers of doping, but will also teach them about the meaning of the Olympic values and what it means to behave in a socially responsible manner. The Culture and Education Programme in Nanjing attracted a record number of 100,000 participations and aims to help those taking part in their future careers.

President Bach finally commended the seamless organisation and the efficiency of the Chinese hosts, and praised the volunteer programme, which will be one of the many strong legacies of these Games.


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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games

Mum’s the word for gentle giant Kadiru in super heavyweight final

August 28th, 2014

Kadiru beat favourite Daramni Rock of the USA by three rounds to nil in the men’s super-heavyweight final, avenging his defeat at the World Youth Championships in Sofia earlier this year. Cheered on by dozens of his Team Germany colleagues, Kadiru wrapped up a busy final day of boxing at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games where 10 men’s gold medals were decided in the International Expo Centre.

It was a case of saving the best story until last too, as Kadiru’s coach Michael Temm revealed that the young boxer hands over what little money he makes to his mother, Janet. “Peter is born and bred in Hamburg, but the family is originally from Ghana,” Temm said. “This boy does so much for his family with whatever small money he earns from his boxing. He gives it all to his mother. Look at the size of the team that has come down to support him. We have no words. They are definitely a part of his winning moment.”

Softly-spoken Kadiru, who posed for photo after photo with volunteers, added: “My mother Janet has been my pillar of support for my whole life. She is a lovely mother. She has been with me through the bad times and the good times. She was there when no one else was there for me and my brother Kevin. If you ask me what sacrifices she made, I will not be able to tell you – she made so many. Every little thing counts, I am grateful to her. I was desperate for the gold for my family and my team.”

The defeated Rock was roared on by a large Team USA contingent, with fellow boxer Shakur Stevenson the main cheerleader. Stevenson had earlier won gold in the flyweight category, before promising to do it all over again in Rio (2016 Olympic Games). The American has fought 15 international bouts in his short but impressive career, and won all of them. Number 15 was a unanimous three-round win over China’s LYU Ping, who had the crowd on his side but never had an answer to the rangy reach of his opponent.

Stevenson wrapped a Star and Stripes bandana round his head while the national anthem was played and then showed he was equally at home chatting about his victory. The Rio 2016 Olympic Games is on the boy from New Jersey’s radar. “I might lose one day, but it’s not going to happen any time soon,” he said. “The fight went exactly to plan. I’m not frightened of anything and I aim to go to Rio to win gold.”

Cuba showed they are continuing to produce world-class boxing talent, by finishing the final day in the ring with two golds. Javier Ibanez Diaz found Bulgarian Dushko Mihaylov no obstacle at all in the men’s bantamweight division, beating him 3-0.

His team-mate Yordan Alain Hernandez Morejon enjoyed a tighter contest against Croatia’s Toni Filipi in the men’s heavyweight class, splitting the judges 2-1 in his favour. Cuba were unable to make it triple gold, though, when Alain Limonta Boudet  lost 2-1 to Ablaikhan Zhussupov (KAZ) in the men’s lightweight.

Rufat Huseynov of Azerbaijan collapsed to the canvas in happiness after beating Sulaymon Latipov (UZB) 3-0 in the men’s light fly. “I kept telling myself that I am a champion and that I will only go home with the gold. I am on the right path,” Huseynov said. “I will become European champion, and then Olympic champion.”

The most convincing win of the session went to Italy’s light welterweight Vincenzo Arecchia, who was awarded a walkover win against Toshihiro Suzuki (JPN) after Suzuki was deemed unfit to fight. Suzuki was diagnosed with concussion after his semi-final victory and was withdrawn by the Japan team as a precaution.

Juan Solano (DOM) tumbled on to the canvas in a grappling contest with Bektemir Melikuziev (UZB) in the first round of their men’s welter final and was given a standing count in the final round. Not surprisingly Melikuziev took the judges’ unanimous verdict.

There was little love lost between Dmitrii Nesterov of Russia and Ramil Gadzhyiev of Ukraine in the men’s middleweight final. Both boxers had loud, flag-waving support in the hall and it was the yellow of Ukraine celebrating after a 3-0 win. Gadzhyiev said: “I feel so proud of my ability to win. This is a happy moment for me.”

Blagoy Naydenov (BUL) beat Vadim Kazakov (KAZ) 3-0 in the light heavyweight division. “I knew I was the favourite and I knew there was pressure but it is no problem,” he said. 

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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games

The future starts at YOG!

August 28th, 2014

For most of the 3,800 athletes, the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games are a taster of what a career in sport could be like. Inspiring them to dream big and aim high, the YOG also ensure that through the Culture and Education Programme (CEP) and the Athlete Career Programme (ACP) booth, young people learn about the tools and life skills they need to further their personal development.

Through two online interactive exercises – Act your Time and Balance your Act – young athletes juggling education and sport learn the value of time management and the importance of having a small trusted network of people in their lives who can help them succeed in sport and education.

“It is very important to stress the value of good time management skills to young athletes”, said Olympian Frank Fredericks. “With their school and training schedules, they are naturally managing their time already, but when they retire from sport or finish their studies, they will have these lessons to refer back to. The IOC Athlete Career Programme and IOC Athletes’ Commission are here to plant this seed so that they can take these life lessons with them from Nanjing.”

Frank Fredericks is among the Athlete Role Models, Olympians and IOC Athletes’ Commission members who have been on hand throughout the YOG to help with the exercises and share their personal experience and advice with these teenagers.

The ACP booth also helps young sports lovers, athletes and volunteers to discover what options are out there if they want to pursue a career in sport. Created as a talent-based personality quiz, “Sport Up Your Life” sorts through your personal responses, and suggests a vocation best suited to your own skills, interests and talents. Try it out for yourself here:

Curious to learn more about the ACP and the resources available for athletes? Check the Athletes’ Kit here for more information.


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Singapore 2010 YOG, Youth Games

Rio 2016 opens registration process for Olympic and Paralympic volunteers

August 27th, 2014

Rio 2016 Committee opens registration process for Olympic and Paralympic Volunteer Programme

August 27th, 2014