Nanjing, China Safest Candidate for 2014 Youth Olympic Games According to IOC Evaluation Report

A comparatively quiet bid from China has suddenly taken the forefront after the release of an evaluation of the race to host the 2nd Youth Summer Olympic Games in 2014.

Today the International Olympic Committee released the evaluation report of three cities vying for the quadrennial Games – Guadalajara Mexico, Nanjing China and Poznan Poland. The report was based on submitted candidature files as well as video conferences held earlier.

The full report is available for download by clicking here.

While not officially permitted by the IOC to conduct international campaigns – Guadalajara and Poznan have been extremely active promoting their bid unofficially through social networks including Facebook and Twitter. Nanjing’s bid team seems to have remained in the shadows thus far in the campaign – but it has delivered where most necessary.

“…The Evaluation Commission believes Nanjing’s project to host the 2nd Summer Youth Olympic Games presents minimal risk to the IOC” the report concluded – giving an all-important stamp of approval that the IOC members will consider as they vote.

In contrast, the report explained that both Guadalajara and Poznan both present “…a number of risks to the IOC”, sending a warning to members that these cities may not yet be ready.

Nanjing, the former Capital of China, is located on the Yangtze River Delta and has 7.4 million inhabitants.

The IOC is satisfied with Nanjing’s budget and municipal financial guarantee. The report also praised the compact plan, experience and use of existing venues.

Nanjing’s biggest obstacle that is not noted on the report is that the 1st Youth Olympic Games will be held in Singapore in 2010 and the IOC may prefer to stage the Games elsewhere before returning to Asia.

While Poznan has proposed a good venue concept and has the experience required, there seemed to be some concern about the Youth Olympic Village; “it would be essential to closely monitor the progess of construction” the report says.

“[Poznan’s] budget appears low in a number of key areas and may not be sufficient to cover the proposed levels of service…” was also noted in the report.

Poznan’s Mayor, Ryszard Grobelny said “we are greatly encouraged by the analysis of our bid received from the Evaluation Commission and their understanding of the strong guarantees to our plans provided by the governments of this city, the region and the Polish national government as well as the NOC, including a guarantee against any budget shortfall.”

Guadalajara’s main strength and drawback stems from the city’s hosting of the 2011 Pan Am Games. The IOC is impressed that the Youth Olympic Games plan leverages preparations for the Pan Am Games – but also noted that the Pan Am Games progress has been strife with financial difficulties and delays.

“In light of the latest information available regarding the status of progress of preparations for the Pan American Games, the Commission reserves judgement on the benefit of the experience gained from the organisation of these Games”.

This concern extends to the construction of the Olympic Village, something that would need to be closely monitored according to the report.

Guadalajara also has an “important financial risk” because there is no budget shortfall guarantee – even though the budget itself seems to be reasonable – the report noted.

The IOC will elect the winning City February 10th at the 122nd IOC Session in Vancouver after each candidate provides a short presentation for the members. This is the first live vote for a Youth Olympic Games host – both Singapore 2010 and Innsbruck 2012 were elected through a postal vote.