By Tom Degun

Basketball at_Youth_Olympics_Singapore_2010December 13 - Russia are set to launch a bid for the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics through the state of Dagestan, as first reported on insidethegames.

The bid will come from the city of Kaspiysk, who have crucially secured the support of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC).

"Dagestan has unique tourism opportunities that may become a great alternate site to Tunisia and Egypt," said Ahmed Bilalov, the vice-president of the ROC.

"Even if Dagestan does not get to host [the] Youth Olympic Games in 2018, it would try again in 2022."

Kaspiysk mapThe city is located on the shores of the Caspian Sea and the bid is somewhat of a surprise given that the North Caucasus, where Kaspiysk is located, is well known as a zone of extreme political turbulence.

In 2002 at least 44 people were killed in Kaspiysk in an attack carried out during a military parade to commemorate the 57th anniversary of Soviet victory in the World War II on Lenin Street in the city.

However, Russian authorities appear to see leisure and tourism as a means of bringing greater prosperity, and therefore stability, to the region.

Dagestan shares a border with Chechnya, the scene of two brutal wars in recent times, with Russia fighting to retain control in the wake of the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Dagestan has, however, increased its profile through the Russian football club Anzhi Makhachkala, who are funded by the billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, and who have bought a number of big name players including Roberto Carlos and Samuel Eto'o this year.

Russia will also be confident as the country is enjoying a spectacular run of success in contests to host international sports competitions.

The next few years will bring the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the 2013 World Athletics Championships and the 2015 World Ice Hockey Championships to the country, along with several other important events.

But they will face stiff competition as Buenos Aires in Argentina, Monterrey in Mexico and Abuja in Nigeria have already said that they are likely to bid for the competition.

Other potential bid cities include Medellín in Colombia, The Hague in Netherlands and Glasgow in Scotland.

All formal bids must be submitted by March 1, 2012 while the hosts of the event will be announced in June 2013.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
October 2011: Russia and Azerbaijan weigh up joint 2018 Summer Youth Olympics bid
July 2011: Exclusive - Chechnya neighbour set to launch bid for Summer Youth Olympics