The Norwegian participants who have acheived IOCs strict qualification requirements are swimmers Lavrans Solli (18) and Sverre Næss (18), wrestlers Karoline Løvik (15) and Pål Erik Gundersen (17), marksman Malin Westerheim (16) and sailor Harald Fæste (16).
– It is difficult to qualify for this championship, IOC have set the scene for only ‘the best of the best’ to participate, explains Guro Lium, the Norwegian group’s Chef de Mission.
The Olympic programme is the same as for the Summer Olympics and consists of 205 countries participating in 26 sports, although with fewer disciplines within each sport.
A lack of knowledge about the competitive level within the eligible age group has made it more difficult to assess the potential for medals for the Norwegian delegation, however it is not the medals which are of main priority for the Norwegian Olympic Organisation.
-We have not focused on medals and have therefore not set a medal target. For us the main priority is that the delegation should experience this as a part of a training and developmental process, explains Guro Lium.
This strategy is in line with the idea behind YOG and the focus on what is called the Cultural and Educational Programme. 50 different activities will be available for the 3600 14-18 year olds who will live in the Youth village in Singapore. The emphasis will be on the Olympic ideals of “respect, friendship og excellence” and create experiences across cultures which support the creation of a peaceful world with respect for fundamental ethical values.
The delegation will enjoy a 3 week stay in Singapore, with the departure set for 9th August well in advance of the opening on the 14th August which gives the athletes a few days to acclimatise.
– I only really realized couple of weeks ago that I am actually going to the Youth Olympic Games. I qualified during a championship in Poland where the 22 best wrestlers in Europe competed for two places. I qualified in second place; said Pål Eirik Gundersen from Fredrikstad.
Pål Eirik is going for gold in Singapore, and like Karoline Løvik will prepare for the games through national training camps.
The swimmers will also have several training camps throughout the summer, and will participate in several international competitions before departure.
– I have been told by others that I have the chance to make it to the top of the results list. Now I am just anxious to get started, says the swimmer Lavrans Solli.
Harald Fæste (sailing) and Malin Westerheim (shooting) will be able to test their fitness during the Laser World Championship in Italy 8th -17th July and the World Championship for shooting in Munich at the beginning of August.