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Haile Gebrselassie and Derartu Tulu: Dakar 2022 comes at the right time for Africa

The IOC awarded Dakar the fourth Youth Olympic Games in 2022 during the 133rd IOC session in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo: IOC)
by Haileegziabher Adhanom, Secretary General, ESJA

BUENOS AIRES, October 10, 2018 - It was at the IOC Session in Pyeongchang this February that the decision was unanimously taken that the next edition of the Youth Olympic Games in 2022 would be awarded to the African continent.

In Buenos Aires, at the 133rd IOC Session, Dakar was unanimously voted in as host city for the Youth Olympic Games four years from now. In the immediate joy of Dakar winning the hosting rights, Africa showed its solidarity, with almost all African members of the IOC stressing that they will stand by Senegal during the city’s journey to host Africa’s first ever Olympic Games. They want to aim for the sky: Dakar must stage the best YOG ever.

Legendary athlete Haile Gebrselassie praised the decision of the IOC to finally honour Africa by giving it a chance to host an Olympic games. He said: “It is an African affair and we are all on it to make it the best games and I have a strong belief that Senegal with their African brothers will do a wonderful job to welcome the world in four years time."

Another legendary Olympian Derartu Tulu, who is in Buenos Aires for the IOC Session and Forum, also congratulated the IOC for making the right decision for bringing the games to Africa, and Senegal for winning the historic hosting rights. She however stressed that Senegal has a huge responsibility to set a very good precedent while, so that Dakar can pave the way more hosting opportunities for other African Countries.

The fourth Youth Olympic Games are set to be centred around three locations: the capital city, Dakar; the new city of Diamniadio; and the coastal resort of Saly. Senegal’s project is tied in with the West African country’s overarching development strategy, notably the national government’s “Emerging Senegal’’ plan, which envisions major economic and infrastructure improvements.

The president of Senegal Mr. Macky Saal also pledged to make the African content proud by hosting a very good games with true African Hospitality in 2022.

IOC President Thomas Bach said: “Africa is united behind Senegal to host the Youth Olympic Games 2022. With a young population and a passion for sport, it is time for Africa, it is time for Senegal.”

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