PALMA'S Mayor Aina Calvo and Balearic President Francesc Antich yesterday announced that Palma is bidding to host the Youth Olympics in 2018. The first selection round will be held next year, when just one Spanish city will be short-listed as a candidate.

So far only one Youth Olympics has been held - in Singapore - where 3'000 young sportsmen and women from 200 countries gathered to take part in 25 different sporting disciplines. The organising city reportedly attracted a crowd of 370'000 spectators.

Diego Gonzalez, Sports Director of the Balearic ministry for the President's Office which manages sporting affairs, said yesterday that the event is going to be even bigger by the time 2018 comes round.

The Youth Olympics that year will be staged in conjuction with the Paraplegic Youth Olympics and is expected to be much more substantial than the University Games which Palma hosted in 1999.

If Palma is successful in its bid, it would mean the construction of a state-of-the art sports centre in the Son Llatzer area . The Youth Olympics would also become an integral part of the Playa de Palma reform project as the Olympic Village would be located in Arenal.

Further investment would also ensure that already-existing sporting infrastructure in Palma is brought up to date and made ready for an international spectatorship, in improving transport between the different facilities and using “satellite” sports centres in Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera.

Such moves would include the reform of the stadium at Son Moix and even the possibility of rebuilding the Luis Sitjar sports stadium.
Palma City's Sports Councillor Maribel Gonzalez said that Palma would ask for Central Government funding to make sure that all necessary infrastructure for the Youth Olympics could be made ready. “It's not going to mean that we have to divert funds away from other areas to hold the Games,” said Calvo yeserday. “It's just a question of making use of and upgrading what we already have.” President Antich said that Palma's bid to host the Games will be boosted at the Madrid Tourism Fair which began yesterday.


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