The International Olympic Committee (OIC) announced Wednesday that its eyes are on Africa for the Summer Youth Olympic Games in 2022.
The OIC said it will be targeting African National Olympic Committees to help decide on a host city for the fourth edition of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG), within a new framework that changes the selection process and works to ensure that the event is accessible to a greater number of cities.
“Africa is the home of so many very successful Olympic athletes. Africa is a continent of youth,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “That is why we want to take the Youth Olympic Games 2022 to Africa.”
The goal is to elect the host city at the next IOC Session, to be held in October 2018 in Buenos Aires ahead of the YOG. Decisions will be based on criteria including the use of existing infrastructure and affordable temporary fields of play, enhanced flexibility and adaptation to the local context, and the capacity for the event to be used as a catalyst for wider youth and sports engagement.
“This is going to be a great glimmer of hope for Africa,” said Nawal El Moutawakel, an IOC Member and Moroccan Olympic hurdling champion.
The IOC pointed to the Youth Olympic Development Centre in Zambia, a facility which supports over 10,000 young athletes from grassroots through the international level, as an example of sport’s role in driving social transformation and investing in youth. “This is supported throughout the continent with the Olympic Solidarity program that offers assistance to NOCs for athlete development, training of coaches and sports administrators,” the IOC said.
The IOC has established projects in Rwanda and Ethiopia to ensure the safety and security of young refugees, and envisions a future YOG Africa as another step forward in building on Africa’s future.
“Our youth has been hoping and always dreaming to have the world come to Africa and experience the African nations,” said Dagmawit Berhane, an IOC member from Ethiopia. “It’s a pleasure to hear our colleagues in the IOC have the faith and belief in an African nation to host the (Youth Olympic) Games.”
Image: YODC Zambia