The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved plans to target African National Olympic Committees (NOCs) as potential host cities of the fourth edition of the Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2022.
The decision was made by members at the IOC Session, following the recommendation of the IOCs Executive Board earlier this week in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
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, 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 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.
This approach has been taken in line with a recent YOG review, to ensure a more impactful and effective concept for young elite athletes, and for host cities.
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 engaging with selected African NOCs to establish the feasibility of staging the Youth Olympic Games 2022.
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.
Significant work has already been undertaken by the IOC on the African continent to use sport to protect and invest in young people and drive social transformation, starting with the Youth Olympic Development Centre in Zambia, a facility which supports over 10,000 young athletes, from grass roots through to the international level.
This is supported throughout the continent with the Olympic Solidarity programme that offers assistance to NOCs for athlete development, training of coaches and sports administrators.
Furthermore, in partnership with UNHCR, the IOC also established the Olympic Refuge Foundation in 2017, which aims to create safe, basic and accessible sports facilities in areas where there are refugees, a displaced migrant population and internally displaced people.
IOC Member from Ethiopia, Dagmawit Berhane said, Our youth has been hoping and always dreaming to have the world come to Africa and experience the African nations. 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.
Nawal El Moutawakel, IOC Member and Moroccan Olympic hurdling champion, also commented: 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.
A future Youth Olympic Games edition in Africa will go one step further to build on the sports development work, youth sport events and programmes that are already gaining momentum, such as the African Youth Games, and to further engage with the largest continental youth population.
IOC factsheet on Sport in Africa
Athletes and Youth / Olympic Games:
- There are 54 National Olympic Committees in Africa.
- A total of 45 medals were won by African athletes at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, making these the continent’s most successful Olympic Games.
- Eight African NOCs will be represented at PyeongChang 2018.
- At the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, Nigeria’s women’s bobsled team will make history as the first African bobsled team to compete at the Olympic Winter Games. Nigeria will also be represented for the first time at the Winter Games.
- Ghana will also have the first Olympic skeleton athlete at PyeongChang 2018, Akwasi Frimpong.
- Africa at the YOG: Adam Lamhamedi (MAR) was the first African to win an Olympic medal when he took gold in the men’s super G competition at Innsbruck 2012. Chad le Clos (RSA) won five medals at the inaugural Singapore 2010 YOG and went on to be come Olympic champion at London 2012.
Programmes and events in Africa
- Olympic Youth Development Centre, Zambia; The first multi-sports centre of this kind opened in Lusaka, Zambia, in 2010. It welcomes over 10,000 youngsters for sports, cultural, educational and social development programmes. At Nanjing 2014, one of these young Zambian athletes struck gold, winning the 100m sprint, Sydney Siame.
- In 2016, the IOC and UNHCR joined forces to increase support to better protect young refugees across six different camps in Rwanda.
- In 2017, the IOC launched the Olympic Refuge Foundation in collaboration with UNHCR. Its aim is to create safe, basic and accessible sports facilities in areas where there are refugees.
- In total, there have been 32 IOC Young Change-Makers from Africa, of whom three have secured additional funding to launch grassroots sports projects in their communities.
- In all, 68 per cent of the 54 African NOCs have programmes are in place to promote Olympism.
- The Olympafrica Foundation, based in Dakar, is a strong partner of the IOC (co-founded by the IOC). It welcomes hundreds of thousands of children in its network of Olympafrica centres in 37 African countries, where children can practise sport and get professional training and education in areas such as health, personal hygiene, the Olympic values, etc.
- Africa has several continental games such as the All-Africa Games (Equatorial Guinea, 2019) and the Africa Youth Games (Algiers, 2018). The continent was host to the 2010 FIFA World Cup (South Africa).