SINGAPORE: It is Singapore versus Moscow in the race to host the world's first Youth Olympic Games in 2010.
They beat Athens, Bangkok and Turin to make it to the final shortlist. This was announced by the International Olympic Committee on Monday evening.
The Singapore's 2010 Youth Olympic Games Bid Committee organised a casual get-together to await the announcement.
More than 300 students turned up to hear the news.
"I intend to post a blog about Singapore's bid for the Youth Olympic Games, asking for support from everyone," said Singapore Sports School student Isabelli Li.
Over 200 companies are also supporting Singapore's bid, and many sponsors and schools have lined up events to show their support.
It is more of such support from citizens that Singapore hopes to get over the next few weeks to try to beat Moscow in the final bid.
"The citizen support for any Olympic Games is very critical. To host the Olympics, they want it to be successful. That's why every single individual, every man in the street, their show of support is important," said Teo Ser Luck, adviser to Singapore's 2010 Youth Olympic Games Bid Committee and Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development, Youth and Sports.
Low Teo Pin, president of Singapore Sailing Federation and chairman of Sentosa Development Corporation, said: "Despite the fact that we are a small island, the enthusiasm is in the 4.5 million people we have here. And I think that's really our edge."
Nine cities submitted bids to host the Games. These were narrowed down to five in November last year.
The host city will be announced on 21 February.
Singapore has planned to pump in more than US$75 million into organising the Youth Olympic Games.
Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, said he was delighted to hear the latest news.
"We are glad that the IOC has recognised the high quality of Singapore's bid. As a young nation and a small city, we are honoured to make it to the final shortlist," he said.
"We offer the International Olympic Committee (IOC) the opportunity to create a new legacy, by showing how a small city-state can also be part of the exciting Olympic movement. We look forward to the upcoming postal vote, and we hope that our bid will merit the support of IOC members around the world."
Mr Teo Chee Hean, Defence Minister and the president of Singapore National Olympic Council, said Singapore offers a safe and secure environment for the 5,000 athletes and officials who are expected to attend the Games.
"We are also well known for our efficiency and our ability to organise big events, given short lead time," he added. "Hence, the IOC can be assured that the first Youth Olympic Games, if held in Singapore, will be an event the world will be proud of. It will be a celebration of the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect." - CNA/ir