Sports / China

UCI president Cookson gives all thumbs up to Youth Olympics

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-08-17 20:48

NANJING -- International Cycling Union (UCI) president Brian Cookson on Sunday gave all thumbs up to the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics which was unveiled in east China's Nanjing on Saturday.

Cookson said the Opening Ceremony was impressive and the Games has been well organised.

UCI president Cookson gives all thumbs up to Youth Olympics
Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games

"I was not at Singapore for the inaugural Games, but I'm surprised how big the event is here. The people in Nanjing have done an excellent job. Singapore was the first Youth Olympics and Nanjing Games is the second and it seems to me that this one is even bigger. I'm sure Nanjing edition is even more successful than Singapore was."

Nanjing is part of Cookson's Asian trip which included Japan and South Korea stops, and in the capital city of Jiangsu Province, Cookson is due to meet with heads of Rio Olympics Organising Committee, people of International Olympic Committee and head of the Chinese Cycling Association.

Cookson took the Youth Olympics as a must step towards the world's top arena, and the young athletes are offered great chances to compete and learn.

"Competing at the Youth Olympics is a once-in-a-life experience. The athletes should not consider it as the highest level of their achievements but one step halfway towards the senior Olympics," he said.

"It's an important experience to come to the multi-sport Games, you can learn from different cultures, meet people from around the world and understand the different ways of looking at the world, so I think it's a very useful experience for the young athletes."

The cycling sport has been plummeting downwards after former Tour de France seven-times winner Lance Armstrong was found guilty of using drug and Armstrong's allegation that former UCI heads were involved in cover-up of doping use further ravaged the sport. Cookson expected the young to learn a lesson and choose the right track.

"There are always temptation for athletes including the young and older ones as well. But I think you have young athletes here learning about the Olympic spirit of fair play and integrity, show them the right way to do. That's what they can benefit from an experience like this."

Asked about the future of the Youth Olympics, Cookson said: "I think it's good to get the young athletes from different parts of the world together to take part in sport in international environment and practise the Olympic values of fair play, hard work and dedication. That's got to be a good thing for the young people."

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