August 31, 2012 / 8:52 AM / 6 years ago

China to go cheap on 2014 Youth Olympics

(Reuters) - Chinese officials have promised there will be no extravagant, Beijing-like splurging of finances when Nanjing hosts the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, local media reported on Friday.

Children participate in a drawing contest to welcome the second Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, Jiangsu province May 15, 2010. REUTERS/Sean Yong

Rather than spending a fortune on producing the Games, as Beijing did for the 2008 Olympics, Nanjing is set to follow the frugal lead of London.

The eastern Chinese city will emulate London’s use of temporary buildings, Nanjing Party chief and Games organising committee president Yang Weize told the China Daily.

He also insisted the city would keep a close eye on spending when it constructs new competition and training venues.

“No new venues will be built if old ones can be renovated,” said Yang, facing criticism from city residents complaining that costs are already spiralling.

“No new facilities will be purchased if old ones can be repaired, no equipment will be bought if (it) can be rented, and they won’t be rented if they can be borrowed.”

Yang was in London to study how the most ‘temporary’ Olympics ever could help signal an end to lavish over-spending and the subsequent decaying of unused venues.

Beijing claimed to have spent around $15 billion on the Chinese capital’s spectacular 2008 Olympics, roughly the same as London’s budget and that of Athens in 2004.

Some reports estimated, however, that the total cost of the Beijing Games was in fact in excess of $40 billion.

Beijing has since struggled to generate revenue from such iconic structures as the Bird’s Nest main stadium after spending $423 million to build it.

In stark contrast, Nanjing officials cheerfully said they were accepting donated machinery from Singapore, which hosted the inaugural Youth Olympics in 2010.

“Singapore has given its ticket-checking machines to Nanjing,” said Liu Yi’an, the deputy secretary general of the organising committee.

“We may also give our facilities to other host cities of major sporting events for re-use.”

Nanjing has set a Games-related budget of $315 million, according to the China Daily.

Li added that 25 of the 34 competition and training venues will be renovated, five temporary venues would be taken down after the games and the four new ones open to the public.

“Nanjing will spend no more than Singapore,” insisted Nanjing’s public relations director Ding Ming.

Reporting by Alastair Himmer in Tokyo

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