Village 'Great Wall' focal point for young athletes at Nanjing

Athletes at the Nanjing games have a common meeting point

Nanjing (China), Aug 13 (IANS) The a colourful "Great Wall of Memories and Affection" in the Youth Olympic Village (YOV) has become the melting pot of athletes from diverse cultural backgrounds participating in the Youth Olympics here. The new wall, in the dining hall lobby at the Village, is a mosaic of signatures, messages in different languages, and even small caricatures in different colours by the participating athletes.

The organisers have erected a huge white wall with 'Nanjing 2014, Share the Games, Share our Dreams' inscribed on it and the Games mascot Nanjinglele on one side. This has become the biggest attraction for the athletes, who never leave without putting up some of their thoughts on the wall.

"By putting my signature and writing messages, it feels like I am part of the Games. I will be part of the memories of these Games forever. I do this to let the people know that I am and was here. This activity should continue at the next Games," said beach volleyball player Estefanie Bethancourt of Guatemala on Wednesday. The wall has turned from a huge, bland, white board into a colourful wall with a mixture of messages painted in love by the athletes.

It has everything on it, from plain signatures to good luck messages and different figures. One can see these messages in various languages which makes it a cultural mosaic. There is even a little "duckling", hearts painted in red, and a small boat by some sailing enthusiast on the wall.

"It is like giving a shape of words and figures to your memories. It is for the sake of good memories," said Veronica Cenkova, an artistic gymnast from the Czech Republic.

"I want to leave my name here so that people may remember me that I was also here. It is about cherishing good memories," said Spanish cyclist Maria Rodriguez Navarrete. The second Youth Olympic Games will be officially opened here on Saturday and it will conclude on August 28.

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