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Speech By Mr Teo Chee Hean at YOG Learning Centre Opening Ceremony

Mr Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Defence and SNOC President gave a speech at the opening of the Youth Olympic Games Learning Centre on Thursday, 30 Ocotber 2008.

His speech is reproduced here as a service to readers as quoted from official Singapore Youth Olympic Games website. Full text of SYOG 2010 site is available here.

"I am happy to be here today to open the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Learning Centre. The YOG Learning Centre will reflect Singapore’s journey in hosting the inaugural YOG. It will also serve to interest and engage young people and members of public on Olympism, the Olympic Values as well as the sports played during the Summer Olympic Games.

2. The opening of the Learning Centre is a step forward in Singapore’s Olympic journey in the short space of two months after welcoming our medallists from the Beijing Olympic Games and the Beijing Paralympic Games. In fact, visitors to the Learning Centre can share the pride and glory of Singaporean Olympic medallists in their medal winning moments. Also on display will be medals of our first Olympic medallist Tan Howe Liang and our first Paralympic gold medallist Yip Pin Xiu. We are all proud of their performance and that of our Singapore athletes who strive to put
up their best showing in the international sporting scene. All these go to show that our dreams should not be bound by our small land size or population, and nothing is impossible if we have the aspiration and determination to fulfil our dreams.

3. Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and I will remember with fond memories the historic moment on 21 February 2008 when International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge announced in Lausanne that Singapore had won the bid to host the first ever YOG in 2010. Many of us had our eyes glued to the live TV broadcast when the news was announced. The celebration at the Padang that ensued was another testament of the overwhelming support for Singapore’s bid.

4. We are privileged to win the honour of co-constructing the inaugural YOG with IOC. Come August 2010, Singapore will receive 3,500 young athletes and thousands of other visitors who will gather on our shores. To deliver a successful Games and a memorable experience for participants and all who are in Singapore during the Games, it will take the hard work of many people to make it happen.

5. I believe you are as excited as I am in the countdown to Singapore 2010. We are now 652 days away from the Games. Preparations for the Games are progressing well. SYOGOC has completed its foundation planning and has begun operational planning. In the face of the current global economic uncertainty, the work ahead will be more challenging as ideas and plans come to life. SYOGOC is mindful of the concerns and remains committed
to putting up an exciting and enriching programme for the inaugural YOG.

6. Singapore 2010 will provide the opportunity for young people from around the world to meet and build lasting friendships in a programme founded on the Olympic values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect -values which are universal and timeless. Thousands of young people in Singapore will help to host the YOG. Hosting the YOG will therefore deliver a significant, lasting legacy for the athletes and for Singapore.

7. I am confident that together with the IOC, and with everyone’s support, we will be able to deliver a Games that will go down in history as the first YOG, and one that we can all be proud of. "

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