Malaysian Tigers - The 109-strong Malaysian contingent withdrew from the games due to H1N1 concerns, but two members from the sailing team who were already in Singapore will continue to compete.
AS SINGAPORE joyfully declared the Asian Youth Games (AYG) officially open at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last night, it also received a hosting "thumbs up" from the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).
Its sports-committee chairman, Mr Wei Jizhong, said that it was "already an achievement" for a small but highly-developed country like Singapore to organise a multi-sport event, involving 45 Olympic committees and about 1,400 athletes, in less than a year.
The OCA also praised the accommodation at the Games Village at Swissotel The Stamford, the competition facilities and the way Singapore students were roped in to promote cultural exchange during the Games.Last night, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong declared the Games open amid crowd-pleasing performances put up by local students under the theme,
"Asia's Youth, Our Future". This was followed by a marchpast of the athletes, before the opening ceremony climaxed with the lighting of the AYG cauldron by three well-known torch-bearers - swimmer Tao Li, bowler Remy Ong and shooter Jasmine Ser.
There was further good news from the chairman of the OCA's medical committee, Dr Mani Jegathesan.There have been no further cases of athletes contracting the Influenza A (H1N1) virus since June 20.Dr Jegathesan said: "This shows that there's no evidence of transmission within the Games complex. It's very encouraging and speaks well of measures that have been put in place."Five soccer players, four from Hong Kong and one from the Philippines, were diagnosed with the virus here. All have since recovered.AYG's battle against doping has also been successful. To date, 16 random tests have been conducted and sent for laboratory testing in Tokyo.The first two results have both returned negative.So, despite the initial hiccups, the AYG is all set to dominate the local sporting scene for the next eight days.Let the Games begin.- AsiaOne