Friday, September 3, 2010

Youth Olympic Games

We have been hearing the song for weeks, we have been seeing the signs, now the Youth Olympic Games are here! The first ones ever and there are in Singapore and we are here as well! A story to tell our grandchildren!! :-)

Getting the tickets was already interesting. Handball was sold out, I didn't realised it was such a popular sport in Asia! So we got tickets for one we knew was very popular badminton !
The day before going, my colleagues who are keen readers of the Strait times, Singapore main newspaper, informed me that everything was sold out but the stadiums were still empty! Apparently the organisation gave tons of tickets away being worried that they wouldn't sell but the people the tickets were given to don't seem to be interested... So we are left with empty stadium!
Anyway, after buying the tickets on the Internet, I had to collect them. 20 minutes of queue later, I had 2 tickets, 1 book and 2 Visa cards!!! Banks over here are very keen on giving cards away, so with each ticket you get a visa card from DBS bank which is at the same time an MRT (tube) card, a moneo (for the French) card and can be transformed into credit card!

Now time to go! From jurong it is a long journey as the indoor stadium is on the circle line which is difficult to connect to (the circle line seems to be a pain in any country :-). By 7pm we are at the stadium, there is an impressive security staff at the entrance which very much outnumber the visitors but we are 1h late so everyone is probably inside, no?
It is actually quite full inside, but they have completely closed 1/4 of the seats so people are concentrated in one area.
It's the middle of the girls final, and Thailand is winning!
The public is mainly kids, most of them seem to have come with their school, they are still wearing their uniforms, some of them even have their badminton rackets! (in case they are asked to play I suppose!)
Everyone had invested in 2 platic sticks you can blow into and then you bang them against each other to make some noise. It's quite nice, the crowd is enthusiastic. Then the match comes to an end and it's time for the medal ceremony. Unfortunately, the athlets are turning their back to us, it is designed for the cameras to get a good shot but not the public...

Before the next match, a few people take microphones and start a giant quizz about the YOG. We have to evacuate, first we don't have a clue what is the favorite sport of Leo (the blue mascot), secondely, the 2 girls with the microphones are screaming and I had to put my fingers in my ears!

So we try to get some food and drink which usually in Singapore is really no problem, it's more of an issue to make a choice! But this is not the case here! One shop, no hawker, just cans of coke and packets of crisps! No beer, which according to R is a disgrace, how can you watch sport without beer???
So we go back to see the next boys match. The game is going really well and is high level. It's Thailand against India, badminton is really an Asian sport! The Thai guy seems to be so much stronger, I can't wait to see the final because the level is already really good!

The match finishes with the victory of the Thai who is a bit of a show man so that's entertaining! And then suddently they prepare for the medals???? That's when I realise that they have changed the order of the games, they had already played the match for the bronze medal and what we have just seen was the final!! (which may be explain why the Thai guy was so happy...)
Big disappointement! We hear the Thai national anthem for the 2nd time and then it's time to go home, using our own MRT card as the one we were given (the one which is a credit card as well) didn't work...
Alltogether, I'm glad we went to see what it was about but I understand why it doesn't make the headlines of the international press and why eurosport doesn't even mention any of the results!

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