Lively but not costly:

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By TANG ZHE in Nan­jing and ZHENG XIN in Bei­jing

The 2nd Asian Youth Games open in Nan­jing, cap­i­tal of Jiangsu prov­ince, with a sim­ple, less star-stud­ded cer­e­mony on Fri­day.

The or­ga­niz­ers of the 2nd Asian Youth Games, which opened on Fri­day at the Nan­jing Olympic Cen­ter Sta­dium, hope to set an ex­am­ple of fru­gal­ity to young peo­ple in ac­cor­dance with the re­cent call from lead­ers to cut back on ex­trav­a­gant spend­ing.

Un­like the mag­nif­i­cent and star-stud­ded cer­e­monies of most in­ter­na­tional sports events, the games in­vited young peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate to high­light the event as a fes­ti­val for younger gen­er­a­tions, ac­cord­ing to Yang Weize, ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of the or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee.

It’s also lighter on the bud­get, he added.

Ac­cord­ing to Yang, the cost of the open­ing and clos­ing cer­e­monies is only one-tenth of the cost of sports events of the same size.

“The (in­ter­na­tional sports event) cer­e­monies nor­mally in­volve more than 10,000 per­form­ers, but we only have about a thou­sand, com­posed mostly of young peo­ple in­stead of stars,” he said.

The de­ci­sion re­flected the event’s main goal of hold­ing a thrifty event in ac­cor­dance with the coun­try’s new lead­er­ship’s ap­peal to cut back on ex­trav­a­gance.

The to­tal bud­get of the Nan­jing Asian Youth Games will be less than 1 bil­lion yuan ($163 mil­lion), and ide­ally un­der 700 mil­lion yuan if pos­si­ble, Yang said.

In­stead of build­ing new fa­cil­i­ties, the city is us­ing pre­vi­ously built sta­di­ums.

Only one new rugby sta­dium, which will open to the pub­lic af­ter the games, was built for the Asian Youth Games.

The other 26 sta­di­ums re­quired mi­nor ren­o­va­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to Cheng Yuan, a pub­lic­ity of­fi­cer of the Nan­jing Youth Olympic Park, more than two-thirds of the new sta­dium’s seat­ing, about 6,000 seats, are rented, and only about 3,000 are fixed for fu­ture use.

“This has saved more than 20 mil­lion yuan,” she said.

In ad­di­tion to the rugby sta­dium, the park will house three more newly con­structed venues to be ready for the Youth Olympic Games to be hosted in Nan­jing in 2014.

Most of the sta­di­ums’ fa­cil­i­ties will be tem­po­rary and mov­able, a de­ci­sion that greatly re­duces the cost of the games, ac­cord­ing to Cheng.

Since the park will be­come a fit­ness cen­ter for res­i­dents af­ter the games, in­stalling brand new fa­cil­i­ties would have been a waste of money, she said.

Con­sid­er­ing the high en­ergy and re­source con­sump­tion of some large- scale sta­di­ums, many of th­ese venues are equipped with en­ergy-sav­ing fea­tures, in­clud­ing an ex­ter­nal sun­shade and wa­ter source heat pump, ac­cord­ing to the or­ga­nizer.

To save on air-conditioning costs, staff at the hand­ball sta­dium at the Nan­jing Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy are us­ing an al­ter­na­tive method for keep­ing the tem­per­a­ture cool. They use a box filled with ice to ab­sorb the heat.

“The com­pe­ti­tion tem­per­a­ture of hand­ball is re­quired to be 24 C,” said Leng Qingfeng, man­ager of the sta­dium’s ser­vice team.

“It could have cost us 800,000 yuan if we in­stalled more air con­di­tion­ers, but by us­ing the ice cubes we can save 600,000 yuan.”

In ad­di­tion to the fa­cil­i­ties, or­ga­niz­ers have also re­duced costs by cut­ting re­dun­dant jobs.

Most of the staff are multitasking and many bring their own com­put­ers to work, said Cheng.

“We in­sist on spend­ing ev­ery cent to its value in prepa­ra­tion for the games, and we hope, apart from ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the sport, that young peo­ple will learn the value of be­ing thrifty,” Yang said.

The event will close on Aug 24. More than 2,600 ath­letes from 45 coun­tries and re­gions will com­pete in 118 events in 16 sports. Staff serv­ing the games will con­tinue to work for the Youth Olympic Games next year.

Con­tact the writer at tangzhe@chi­ and zhengxin@chi­


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