Struggling Isinbayeva to promote Youth Games
Moscow: Struggling Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva has agreed to help promote this year`s inaugural Youth Olympics alongside swimmer Michael Phelps, the International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday.
The first Youth Olympics, aimed at fighting obesity and promoting a more active lifestyle among young people, will take place in Singapore in August and will attract some 3,600 athletes aged 14-18.
American Phelps, 14-times Olympic gold medallist, was signed up as an ambassador in February.
Isinbayeva, who won the pole vault gold medal at the last two Olympics and is the world record holder, announced this month she was taking a break from competing after a slump in form in the past year.
"I am happy to play such an important role in getting young people active," the 27-year-old Russian said in a statement.
"This is a very exciting opportunity for me to pursue whilst I take a break from competition. I will be in Singapore to support the athletes, to encourage them to do their best and enjoy the whole experience," she said.
IOC President Jacques Rogge told reporters on Tuesday qualification for the athletes was already under way. The IOC will also conduct some 1,000 doping tests at the event.
"Hopefully there will not be any positive cases to report," Rogge said, adding the IOC had been surprised by the interest of broadcasters in the event.
He said 15 deals with individual broadcasters had been signed to show taped or live extracts of the competitions.
"Preparation is superb and the best athletes of the world in their age category will be there," Rogge said of his brainchild.