The Singapore Youth Olympic Games (YOG) are commencing in less than 60 days. Really; are you kidding me?
What began as an endeavour with tremendous zest, hype and enthusiasm has seemingly been reduced into a feeble whimper: other than the roadside banners and the television advertisements of the cheer – the presentation and composition of which has drawn its fair share of detractors – any form of excitement or anticipation is virtually non-existent. Proponents might hastily point o the distractions of the ongoing South African World Cup and an assortment of peripheral sporting events; nonetheless, let us not kid ourselves. The organising committee has the potential to do much more.
Having no direct precedents for this year’s inaugural YOG, Singapore shoulders a heavy responsibility of setting a high standard for the following sessions. Looking back at the publicity and promotional methodologies adopted by the string of past Olympic Games, here are some suggestions to boost the event’s profile.
Heightening and strengthening publicity campaigns. Current publicity efforts have been largely centred around the central districts of Singapore, while the programmes and activities have been plentiful but lacking in depth and quality. To diversify the target audience and provide more excitement for the ordinary Singaporeans – getting them interested and informed – it is imperative for the agencies to start moving into the heartlands. Attention and attraction can be capitalised upon through mass participation events that promote sports or healthy lifestyles, rendering publicity efforts more sustainable and constructive.
Increasing and enhancing the level of school-based engagement. The committee has to move away from the dry transfer of Olympic information and knowledge; and instead enhance interactivity by making its presence felt through school tours and exchanges. Beyond the issuance of tickets to matches, young athletes or sport talents can be brought around various institutions to engage the students in dialogues and discussions.
Activate a wider volunteer and youth base with greater enthusiasm and gusto. The power of the people was epitomised during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Even though Singapore would not be able to match the quantity or commitment of man-hours, well-trained and adequately prepared volunteers are needed for pre-event and actual event executions. Currently, it seems that the individuals are not satisfactorily fulfilling their ambassadorial duties in terms of actively promoting the YOG at the community and grassroots level. This engine of manpower has to be greatly revved up to complement whatever publicity or media hype that has been introduced.
With time still available, a harmonisation of the aforementioned would provide for a more holistic preparation for the YOG. With all eyes on our island when the Games kick-off in two months’ time, resting on our laurels and revelling in the sub-par status quo might spell disaster and local monotony when the time comes.