Wu Ching-kuo, Taiwan's contender for the International Olympic Committee's presidency. (Photo/Cheng Jen-nan)
Wu Ching-kuo, Taiwan's contender for the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) presidency, said Friday that the age limit for athletes who compete in the Youth Olympic Games should be lowered to 16 years old so that they can be distinct from the traditional Games.
Under the current regulations, the age limit for athletes competing at the Youth Games is 14 to 18, which allows many athletes who have already participated in the traditional Games to qualify to compete in the Youth Games, the 66-year-old told CNA in an interview.
"Lowering the age limit can also serve as a great opportunity to promote sports among younger generations, which is in line with the main purpose of the introduction of the Youth Games," he said.
There is no age limit to compete in the traditional Olympics. However, some sports do have age requirements for health and safety reasons.
Wu also proposed allowing sports that are popular among younger generations to be contested at the Youth Games, including rock climbing, skateboarding, roller-skating and even street dance.
"Young people love these sports, and having these sports contested is likely to encourage more young people to get involved," he said.
Currently, the sports contested at the Youth Games are the same as those included in the traditional Games.
The six-man race for the IOC presidency includes IOC vice presidents Thomas Bach of Germany and Ng Ser Miang of Singapore, Ukraine's Sergey Bubka, Switzerland's Denis Oswald and Richard Carrion from Puerto Rico.
An election will be held during an IOC session in September in Buenos Aires to replace the incumbent Jacques Rogge of Belgium, who finishes his 12 years of service this year.
The September session will not only select the new leader of the world's most influential sports group but will also decide the host city for the 2020 Olympic Games and an additional sport to be added to the Olympic program.