For the second time in the 16-year history of the U.S. Youth Games, Washington, D.C., will serve as the host city for the more than 1,000 boys and girls, ages 9-15, participating in the annual event this week.

Opening ceremonies will take place Wednesday at Kehoe Field on the Georgetown University campus with Washington Mayor Marion Barry presiding. Events begin Thursday and run through Sunday.

Georgetown will be the site for all five events: basketball, swimming, tennis, track and bowling. Washington is defending champion in bowling and track, but placed only seventh in basketball at the games held in Springfield, Mass., last year.

The Youth Games started in 1966 when Mayor John Lindsay of New York City conceived of the events as both a recreation and a showcase for some of the younger athletes in the city during the summer. The games have been held in such cities as St. Louis (1968), Fort Worth (1975) and Detroit (1978).

Washington was last host in 1969.

"I am delighted that the District was selected as the site for the games," Barry said in a prepared statement. "I have been a strong supporter of the Youth Games because it helps our young people develop positive qualities of leadership, teamwork, striving for excellence, hard work and civic pride."