The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said Buenos Aires is ready to take the summer Youth Olympic Games “to the next level” as it was confirmed that squash and polo will be showcased sports at next year’s event in the Argentinian capital.
The announcements were made as the IOC’s Coordination Commission completed its fourth visit to Buenos Aires this week. To maximise public participation, the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee (BAYOGOC) confirmed that access to its four parks concept will be free, and participants will be able to experience a fusion of elite sport competition, music, culture and arts festivals, sport initiation, showcasing and educational programmes.
Buenos Aires 2018 will offer four distinct hubs in the shape of Green, Urban, Tecnópolis and Youth Olympic Park. The objective of this innovative approach is to utilise open, temporary venues and organise competitions in urban locations where people naturally gather.
As part of an update of the YOG Event Management system, a new way of co-constructing the event between the host city, the international sports federations and the local providers is being pioneered at Buenos Aires 2018 with the view to this becoming a future model to support the evolution of the Games after its third edition.
In addition to the sports programme, squash and polo have been confirmed as showcased sports following on from the popular ‘Sports Lab’ concept launched at the 2014 Games in Nanjing, China.
Sports initiation, a concept also seen at previous YOG editions, whereby people can try out sports, will be organised in 30 sports and have a youthful focus, such as urban table tennis, bossaball and roller freestyle. It was also announced that three additional sports will also offer initiation, comprising baseball/softball, frontball and slackline.
Squash has fought a long-running battle for inclusion in the Olympic Games, having bid unsuccessfully for a place at London 2012, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. Buenos Aires 2018 will mark the first time ever that squash will appear on an Olympic programme and the sport’s stakeholders have noted the impression its inclusion could make on its wider ambitions.
Skateboarding and sport climbing featured in Nanjing 2014’s Sports Lab before ultimately making it onto the programme for Tokyo 2020. World Squash Federation president Jacque Fontaine said: “To be added to the Youth Olympic Games for 2018 is a great moment for squash and a step in the right direction towards our ultimate aim of Olympic Games inclusion.
The 2018 Youth Olympic Games will take place between 6th-18th of October. Commenting on the IOC inspection, Gerardo Werthein, chair of Buenos Aires 2018, said: “Buenos Aires 2018 will have an innovative and modern approach.
“The Youth Games displays the very best in rising sporting talent as well as the very best in youth sports. We believe we have one of the most unique sporting products in the world and some of the most compelling athletes in the world; and we look forward to working closely with the host in the build up to Buenos Aires 2018 to ensure we make the most of the opportunity.”
“Instead of waiting for young people to come to sport, the Games will aim to bring sport, culture and education to millennials and get them involved through interactive activities. It will be an open event for everyone to enjoy and will have a strong focus on sustainability.”