Why 2022 African Youth Games moved to Ethiopia

TEBOHO JAFETA

MASERU – Lesotho will now host the 2026 edition of the African Youth Games while Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa will host the 2022 edition. Maseru was awarded the bid to host the 2022 African Youth Games in 2018 at the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) Extraordinary General Assembly. The Executive Committee of ANOCA held an extraordinary meeting chaired by its President and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Mustapha Berraf in October 2020 where the decision was taken to reallocate the next editions of the African Youth Games.

In an interview on Wednesday this week, ’Matlohang Moiloa-Ramoqopo, the former Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) President, the current ANOCA second Vice Président and IOC member said due to COVID-19, they had to revisit decisions made in 2018 concerning the games. “As the 2020 Olympics faced postponement to 2021, we requested that our games be postponed due to the COVID-19 state of our country in 2020 when the resolution was made. Due to COVID-19, we couldn’t meet the timelines set for us to prepare for the games,” she said.

The change of administration at cabinet level is the other reason behind the postponement as Lesotho now had a new Minister Likeleli Tampane in office who has to learn about what had to be done regarding hosting of these games. “We then approached relevant stakeholders who advised that we postpone the games. Not only Olympic Games faced postponement, but the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) scheduled for Dakar, Senegal were also postponed from 2022 to 2026. Dakar, Senegal, is the first country on the African continent to be awarded the honour of hosting an Olympic sports event.

“So ANOCA accepted our request to postpone hosting the 2022 games and approached Ethiopia to come on board as they wanted to ensure that the 2022 edition of the games continues, so Ethiopia accepted to host the 2022 edition of the games,” she added.

The 2022 edition will be the fourth African Youth Games. Morocco’s capital Rabat hosted the inaugural Games in 2010, followed by Botswana’s capital Gaborone in 2014, while the Algerian capital Algiers hosted the last edition in 2018. Lesotho’s bid for the 2022 edition was given the slogan “One Voice: One Africa: Sport Speaks”. The African Youth Games target the 14 – 18 age group and aims to contribute to the development of African sport and to the growth of Olympic values. The Games are also expected to feature an educational and cultural programme to promote the host country and Africa as a whole.

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