August 16, 2014 / 5:06 PM / 5 years ago

Second Youth Games open in wet Nanjing

Performers dance in the rain during the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games opening ceremony, in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, August 16, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song

NANJING China (Reuters) - The second Youth Olympics opened in a wet Nanjing on Saturday with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach encouraging the teenage athletes to have fun and embrace social media.

“You are here to enjoy the competitions and to deliver your personal best performance,” the German said.

“You are here to experience and promote the Olympic values of excellence, respect and friendship. You are here to celebrate the Olympic spirit.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping declared the 13-day Games, for 3,800 athletes from 204 countries competing in 28 sports, open in front of 60,000 fans in Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre Stadium.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was also present at the light, music and dance, fireworks and cultural ceremony which ended with Olympic diving champion Chen Ruolin lighting the cauldron.

The prelude to the Youth Games, the brainchild of former IOC president Jacques Rogge and first held in Singapore four years ago, had been disrupted by some West African athletes banned from competing in a few combat sports and pool events because of the deadly Ebola virus in the region.

Japanese athletes have also been warned not to wear official clothing in the region, the scene of a 1937 massacre where Chinese officials say 300,000 people were killed by Japanese troops.

Sunday’s first official day of competition will see medals awarded in shooting, weightlifting, triathlon, taekwondo, swimming, judo and fencing.

Writing by Patrick Johnston, editing by Tim Collings

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