August 16 - The second Asian Youth Games started here tonight with an Opening Ceremony littered with colour, vibrancy and enthusiasm in a celebration of the adolescent journey as well as an athletes' parade illustrating the future of sport in this vast continent.
After a Ceremony as well organised as it was aesthetically pleasing confidence must be high that this success will be repeated at the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games which are due to begin in Nanjing in exactly one year's time.
This evening's Ceremony began with a 45 minute cultural presentation of the journey from youth to maturity, presented through the metaphor of the four seasons of winter, spring, autumn and summer,
Athletes from 45 countries spanning 16 events then took to the stage for the flag ceremony before the event concluded with the raising of organising Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) flag and the lighting of the Torch.
Chinese Vice-Premier Liu Yandong then declared the Games officially open.
The Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre Gymnasium will host 10,000 for the 2014 Youth Olympics but with the arena divided into two this time around only 5,000 tickets were available for the indoor facility.
But, with evening temperatures still well in excess of 30 degrees celsius, the comparatively small size made the atmosphere inside seem almost as hot while the indoor nature created tantalising opportunities to experiment with lighting, music and special effects.
The first section, in which two teenagers armed with a crystal ball took a seasonal journey encompassing themes of learning, friendship and fulfilment, combined all the choreography and complexity of the Beijing 2008 Opening Ceremony with the charm and charisma of London 2012's.
Unlike in Beijing, where the Ceremony adopted a specifically Chinese identity, the message of childhood being a voyage of exploration and discovery was also a universal one applicable to all young people.
Indeed as athletes from Timor-Leste to Tajikistan were then presented in the flag ceremony the scale and variety of these teenagers united by sport became ever more apparent.
"On behalf of OCA it gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to beautiful and historic Nanjing for the second Asian Youth Games," he announced.
"Let us celebrate the youth of Asia and the future which is gathered here in front of us in Nanjing who are our future athletes, inspirations and leaders.
"Let us project the great potential of our young athletes and celebrate this festival of sport and culture."
With hundreds of uniformed volunteers lurking around the arena and throughout the city the atmosphere did indeed create memories of last summer's London Olympic Games.
Although this event is not quite on that scale, as action across the 16 sports begins in earnest tomorrow, the hope will be that the organisation, atmosphere and entertainment will come somewhere close to these heady heights of London 2012.
It will be hoped that this potential bandwagon of success, which began so well in the opening ceremony, will then role on to the 2014 Youth Olympic Games..
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