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Where Sports & Youth Go Hand-in-Hand

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jigrr_boxing.jpgGeorge F. Will once said "Sports serve society by providing vivid examples of excellence."

The basic strategy undertaken to patronize sports is that of capturing young talent and this spirit is rightly brought to surface through the Commonwealth Youth Games.

Though George's ideology is over 60 years old, this statement holds much importance and relevance even today. What were once considered  purely recreational activities are now seen as an expression of exquisite talent and the fruits reaped by this talent are boundless. It not only adorns a sportsperson with fame and glory but also enables him/her to posses a calm mind and a healthy body.

It is because of such lucrative end results that today sports are seen in a more serious light and thus provide great opportunities to recreational geniuses.

The Commonwealth Youth Games are a mini version of the Commonwealth Games which are aimed at children and young people.

14 countries supported this tournament by contesting for 483 medals during its inaugural year, 2000. It lasted for 3 days, covering 8 sports- Athletics, Fencing, Gymnastics, Hockey, Lawn Tennis, Squash, Swimming and Weightlifting.

The success of these Games in Scotland gained the support of the Commonwealth Games Federation which pledged continual support for the Commonwealth Youth Games which were now to be held every 4 years.

The second edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games was held in Bendigo, Australia during December 2004 in which 24 countries participated and contested in 10 sports.The events spread over 3 days. The covered events included Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Lawn Bowls, Rugby 7's, Tenpin Bowling, Swimming, Cycling, Gymnastics and Weightlifting.

The IIIrd Commonwealth Youth Games will be held in Pune, India.

Commonwealth Games have been illustrious due to the various records it has broken, over the past few years and it is following the same tradition that the Youth Games too are breaking all boundaries and records.

It is for the first time in history that the Commonwealth Youth Games are being held in Asia, in India. The city of Pune, the cultural capital of Maharashtra and a fast growing metropolis, will host the 3rd Commonwealth Youth Games between 12 - 18 October in 2008 with the following 9 disciplines; Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Weightlifting and Wrestling.

The number of participants has only increased since the first games, with 733 in 200, 1000 in 2004, and over 1300 in 2008. The increasing numbers have been an apt indicator of the game's proliferation. The increasing number of countries participating each year has given rise to exquisite talent in various fields of sports. During the previous two games, the greatest competitors have been England and Australia bagging almost 400 medals put together. South Africa and New Zealand too have proved to possess great athletes by finishing in the top 5 during both the games. Nauru, which finished 3rd in 2000, slipped to the 9th position in 2004, whereas India, who had not featured in the top 10 in 2000, escalated to the 8th position in 2004. Looking at the past track records, even though England and Australia have been dominating the scene for two years, the emergence of new athletes in other countries may jeopardize their position. Countries like South Africa, India and New Zealand may prove to be tough competition to them!

Apart from promoting sports, the Pune Commonwealth Youth Games has undertaken the task of involving schools by starting school initiative programs. The purpose behind such an initiative is to make the Games as participatory as possible. The objective of the program is to bring the Commonwealth countries of the world closer together and help forge bonds of friendship and support that will last forever - hence the innovative program is named 'Bond Forever'. The entire initiative brought school children to the forefront, encouraging an immediate relation/association with the games. Activities involving cultural studies of the various participant nations, making posters on the GREEN THEME and writing letters to the mascot Jigar have been undertaken.

Jigrr the mascot is the younger brother of 'Shera', the mascot of the Commonwealth Games 2010. The purpose behind choosing a Tiger to represent the games is to bring to light the danger which lurks behind the Indian Tiger. On the brink of extinction the games along with its mascot aims at promoting the 'Save the Tiger' program.

Jigrr Copyright: Indian Olympic Association

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