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IOC formalises African Youth Olympics vision, Senegal lines up bid

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has today (Wednesday) formalised plans to take the 2022 summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) to Africa, with Senegal already stating its intention to bid.

IOC members voted in favour of the initiative today following a recommendation from the Executive Board earlier this week. An Olympic Games event has never been hosted in Africa, and the IOC hopes that a Youth Olympics could build a road to a summer Olympic Games on the continent.

The IOC said it will target African National Olympic Committees (NOCs) for potential host cities. A targeted approach based on the principle adopted by the IOC Session in 2016 will replace the competitive stage seen for previous YOG host city selections, with a view to making the process more streamlined, simpler and shorter.

Part of this evolution is to ensure the event is accessible to a greater number of cities, which will be encouraged to make full use of existing and temporary venues. The IOC said the goal is to elect the host city at the next IOC Session, to be held in October in Buenos Aires, ahead of the next edition of the summer YOG in the Argentinian capital.

IOC president Thomas Bach said: “Africa is the home of so many very successful Olympic athletes. Africa is a continent of youth. That is why we want to take the Youth Olympic Games 2022 to Africa. The IOC will proactively approach a number of African NOCs to evaluate the feasibility of such a project.”

The next few weeks will see the IOC engage with selected African NOCs to establish the feasibility of staging the 2022 YOG. This will be based on the criteria established by the revised YOG model, including use of existing infrastructure and affordable temporary fields of play, enhanced flexibility and adaptation to the local context, with the event to be used as a catalyst for wider youth and sport engagement programmes.

Senegal already appears keen to put forward a bid, with French newspaper L'Équipe stating Morocco and South Africa are also considering a proposal. Senegal’s NOC president, Mamadou Ndiaye, said yesterday: “As soon as we have received the specifications, we are ready to apply. We have recently renovated or built a lot of sports facilities and infrastructure.”

Commenting on today’s news, IOC member and Olympic hurdling champion for Morocco, Nawal El Moutawakel, said: “I would like to express my joy at finally seeing such a project being implemented on a continent which has for so long been on the margin of our Olympic Movement. This is going to be a great glimmer of hope for Africa.”

Buenos Aires will host the next edition of the summer YOG from October 6-18 this year. The event was previously held in Singapore in 2010, and Nanjing, China in 2014.