Singapore Youth Olympians Target London 2012

(ATR) IOC president Jacques Rogge tells Around the Rings he’s “delighted” to see at least 40 “rising stars” from Singapore 2010 already qualified for London 2012.

(ATR) IOC president Jacques Rogge tells Around the Rings he’s "delighted" to see at least 40 "rising stars" from Singapore 2010 already qualified for London 2012.

"One of the aims of the Youth Olympic Games is to prepare young athletes for their future careers," he says, "and one of the highlights for me at the Games will be to see them compete."

At least 40 of the 3,517 participants from two summers ago will represent their countries again this year, according to Rogge.

He appears to take pride in this apparent success of the YOG, a pet project of sorts throughout his IOC presidency.

"For many," he tells ATR, "the YOG is their first taste of international competition where they can gain the necessary experience and skills to enhance their careers as athletes and other areas of their lives off the field of play."

By the Numbers

Tracking the transition from Singapore 2010 to London 2012 falls to IOC communications manager Catherine Greene.

In an Excel spreadsheet seen by ATR, she’s keeping tabs on 48 athletes from 32 countries trying to make the leap from Youth Olympian to Olympian in these final weeks before the Games.

As of Wednesday, 26 of the 48 are qualified and approved by their National Olympic Committees to compete in London while another 16 satisfied qualification criteria and are awaiting official selection to their Olympic teams.

"So there are around 40 athletes that have currently qualified, but not all teams have been announced so it will be a little closer to the Games that we can give a final number,"Greene says, stressing the help of both international federations and NOCs in keeping her informed.

"They have been hugely supportive by making us aware of the YOG athletes that have either qualified or made their national teams over the past 12 months. It has really been a team effort."

Still, she reminds ATR, her list is not exhaustive.

"More athletes are qualifying and making their national teams every week," says Greene.

"Springboard for Success"

For those 48 "ones to watch" in the document, Greene also notes the nationality, sport, discipline and YOG position as well as any major achievements since Singapore 2010.

One competed at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games, another won gold at the Guangzhou 2010 Asian Games, three medaled at the Guadalajara 2011 Pan American Games and six reached the podium at recent world championships.

That includes diver Qiu Bo of China, a double gold medalist from the 2011 World Aquatics Championships, as well as Chad Le Clos of South Africa, reigning 200m butterfly champ (25m) and a budding rival of 14-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps.

Both star in the IOC video "Springboard for Success" made available to media last month.

"You have now the shining example of Qui Bo and Chad Le Clos," says Rogge in an interview sandwiched between shots of podium glory from Singapore and footage of training sessions since.

"These are two very promising young athletes who won gold in the Singapore Games and have qualified for London, and are also tipped for medals there, so that is very nice."

Phelps also features in the video with an inspirational spot he filmed ahead of Singapore 2010, where he served as a YOG Ambassador.

"Of course, Chad Le Clos looked at him as a role model," explains Rogge, "but in London in the pool, everyone starts on the same footing. There will be no more role model at that time. [He] will be a competitor."

Reported by Matthew Grayson

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