By Tom Degun

yog_15-09-11September 18 - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has launched the bidding process to host the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) by sending a letter to all National Olympic Committees (NOCs) informing them of the procedure and documentation available for cities interested in hosting the competition.

The letter to the NOCs was accompanied by the Summer Youth Olympic Games Brochure and Candidature Procedure and Questionnaire, and outlines the key dates of the bidding process for the event aimed at 15 to 18-year-old elite athletes.

NOCs have until March 1, 2012, to name a YOG Candidate City to the IOC before submitting the Candidature File and other documents by October 15, 2012.

This will be followed by a two-month examination of the replies by IOC and experts.

The IOC Executive Board will then announce the shortlist of YOG Candidate Cities in January 2013 and additional questions will then be asked to shortlisted candidates the next month.

March 2013 will see video conferences between the bid committees and the IOC Evaluation Commission, while May 2013 will see the crucial report on the Candidate Cities from the Commission.

Finally, in June 2013, the IOC will vote on the host city of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne during the 2020 IOC members' information briefing.

A number of cities have already expressed an interest in bidding to stage the event including the Argentinean capital Buenos Aires who will be one of the favourites for the competition.

Another major contender for the competition will be Monterrey in Mexico who will be hoping that a successful 2011 Pan American Games in the nearby Mexican city of Guadalajara next month will provide a boost for their bid.

Other potential bidders for the event include Medellín in Colombia, Kazan in Russia, The Hague in the Netherlands and Abuja in Nigeria, while Makhachkala, in Dagestan, a neighbour of Chechnya, could emerge as the dark horse for the prestigious event.

The IOC will hold a "Bidding for the Games" conference on November 1-2 this year at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, which is aimed at NOCs and cities interested in bidding for the Youth Olympic Games or Olympic Games.

The conference will provide the participants with detailed insights into the opportunities from which a city, region and country can benefit by hosting an Olympic event and is open to all NOCs and Governmental authorities.

The 2018 Youth Olympics are set to bring together approximately 3,800 young athletes, as well as 1,900 team officials.

The Summer Youth Olympics were first held successfully in Singapore in 2010, while Nanjing in China will host the second summer Youth Olympics in 2014.

Meanwhile, Innsbruck will host the inaugural Winter Youth Olympics in January next year, with Lillehammer set to host the second Youth Olympic Games in 2016, as they are the only bidder for the event.

The Games also look to educate young athletes on the importance of sport for their health and social integration, and to inform them, through cultural and educational activities, about the dangers linked to sport, such as doping, training to excess and inactivity.

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