By James Crook

Asian Youth Games torch relay lighting May 8 2013May 8 - The virtual Torch Relay for the 2013 Asian Youth Games in Nanjing was launched today along with the lighting of the flame-lighting ceremony at the Purple Mountain Observatory in the Chinese city.

Today marks the beginning of the 100 day countdown to the second Asian Youth Games, and Ji Jianye, Mayor of Nanjing City, initiated the lighting of the flame

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, President of the Olympic Council of Asia, spoke at the ceremony via video message, and congratulated the Organising Committee of Nanjing 2013 for the launch of their much anticipated virtual torch relay. 

"I'd like to congratulate you, our dear colleagues from the Organising Committee for our 2nd Youth Games in Nanjing and all the Nanjing officials and citizens for this Torch Relay," he said. 

"It was a very good idea to create this online Torch Relay and blending sport and technology."

Games' mascot Yuan Yuan will carry the virtual torch and be met with a variety of interactive challenges and tasks along the way as he makes his way through 238 cities, experiencing 12 different languages.

W020121101601201015665Games mascot Yuan Yuan will carry the virtual torch, which will simulate a real torch relay running through Asia

And online users can win prizes ranging from mobile phones, tablets, Asian Youth Games merchandise and one player will receive the opportunity to attend the lighting of the flame at the Opening Ceremony on August 16.

"I would be honoured to receive the torch in Kuwait on May 29 to be one of our great days here in Kuwait to support our dear friends from Nanjing City, China where we'll host our 2nd Youth Games," said Al-Sabah.

"For that, I'm looking forward to be a part of the ceremony and I'm looking forward to the success of the Games.

"My best wishes and congratulations to our dear colleagues from the Organising Committee of the Nanjing Asian Youth Games and I wish the success of the 2nd Youth Games in Nanjing.

"I'm looking forward to seeing you, our dear citizens, and to celebrating with you our Games, our ceremony, our victory and our movement in the Asia."

The event is seen as an important part of the build-up to next year's Summer Youth Olympic Games, which Nanjing is also hosting. 

Yang Weize, Executive President of the Nanjing 2013 Organising Committee said: "The flame of the Asian Youth Games represents the Olympic spirit and Olympic values, the hopes and dreams of peace through sport.

"The online Torch Relay will pass through all over the Asia to represent the lighting and passing of the flame.

"This Torch Relay applies the power of the Internet and mobile technology through interesting and challenging interactions as well as characteristic games to inspire the participation of youth around Asia."

The second Asian Youth Games is due take place in Nanjing from August 16 until 24, 2013, and will bring together more than 1,300 young athletes from 45 countries and regions.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories:
April 2013:
Virtual Asian Games Torch Relay to go live next month