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Olympics reply provides perfect mix of sports, fun

By Sun Xiaochen and Cang Wei | China Daily | Updated: 2014-08-31 13:39

The mixed team relay at the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games demonstrated on Aug 26 how sport can transcend differences, bring people together and turn strangers into friends.

The 8 x 100m event, included in the youth games for the first time, was contested by teams of male and female athletes from different countries and different track and field disciplines.

More than 500 athletes from all disciplines and a wide range of countries competed in eight-person teams in the 100m back-and-forth relay held on a street track outside the stadium.

"It's really a fun event," Vashon McCarthy, a well-built shot-putter from Jamaica said after the race.

"I didn't win my leg but I enjoyed gelling with my new mates," he added.

Lamine Diack, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, says the idea of introducing the mixed relay is to encourage the youth of the world to meet and interact.

"It's the spirit of the Youth Olympic Games," he says. "This event is special because you have teams composed of athletes from different countries.

Athletes had plenty of other opportunities to meet and bond during the 13-day games thanks to a program of 50 cultural and educational events.

The activities included visits to the many museums in Nanjing, a youth festival, tours of the city and new media workshops.

To make sure the athletes had enough time to take part, the federations that govern sport were required to give them two days off. In addition the competitors were asked to stay in Nanjing until the end of the games even if they had finished their event.

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