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On March 3, 2019, Shantou won the bid to host the 3rd Asian Youth Games in 2021, making it the fifth city in China after Beijing, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Hangzhou, as well as the first and only prefecture-level city other than provincial capitals, to win a bid to host a continental-level multi-sport event.

In May 2019, a leading group for the preparatory work for the 3rd Asian Youth Games was formed in Shantou to take charge of the organization and implementation of the preparatory work and the daily operations of the preparatory office. In August 2020, the executive committee of the 3rd Asian Youth Games was established in Shantou with the following 16 departments: the General Office (General Planning Department), Competition Department, Arena Construction Department, Cultural Exchange Department, Public Relations Department, Press Department, Finance and Marketing Department, Legal Affairs Department, Organization and Human Resources Department, Supervision and Audit Department, Security Department, Health Department, Logistics Department, Information Technology Department, Urban Environment Improvement Department and Volunteers Department. To advance the preparatory work with a high starting point, high quality, high standards and high efficiency, the executive committee of the 3rd Asian Youth Games will follow the guidance of the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the guideline of “promoting youth and vitality, cultural integration, intelligent innovations, low carbon, and safety and health.” In addition to holding sports events, the committee will host various cultural and educational exchange activities to better promote the Olympic values of “excellence, friendship and respect” among young people from countries across the world and present the grandeur of China, the charisma of Guangdong, and the charm of Shantou to the world while seeking to imbue the Asian Youth Games and Shantou with a precious cultural heritage.