Senegal prepares to host Africa’s first Youth Olympic Games (YOG) by 2026 following the recent conclusion of the Olympics Games 2020 at Tokyo, Japan.
For the first time, athletes all over the world will assemble in Africa to compete in different sports and events. During Tokyo 2020, African athletes made the continent proud winning gold, silver and bronze medals participating in different games.
What will the Olympic Games be like in Africa?
Africa has created a benchmark in the Olympics and holds world record in some categories but is yet to host the competition on her soil.
However, hosting a global competition such as the Olympics isn’t always easy for any country without standard international facilities in place.
It is indeed expensive as Smith College economics professor Andrew Zimbalist, rightly said:
“You might read, for instance, that in Tokyo they spent roughly $15 billion, or that in Brazil or Rio 2016 they spent $12 to $15 billion. But the real numbers in Tokyo are above $35 billion, and the real numbers in Rio are above $20 billion.”
Andrew Zimbalist who edited the book Rio 2016: Olympic Myths, Hard Realities, added that it would be more challenging for developing countries. He further said:
“They don’t have the necessary transportation, communications, and security and hospitality infrastructure, so the amount of money they have to invest to do it is much, much larger,
“Sochi spent somewhere between $51 to $65 billion to host the Winter Olympics in 2014. … China — Beijing — spent somewhere north of $44 billion to host the Games in 2008.
And the problem is that more often than not, you are constructing infrastructure for the purpose of hosting the Games, not for the purpose of solving development bottlenecks in your country,”
Senegal Hosting Youth Olympic Games (YOG2026)
The Youth Olympic Games competition was introduced 11 years ago. And as of the time of this writing, Senegal is currently preparing to host its first Youth Olympic Games in 2026 which will see athletes of 14 to 18 of age in action.
It is a great opportunity for the world to learn more about the real Africa — her rich cultural heritage and modern day innovations but while this may be a huge opportunity it is equally a huge task for the Senegalese officials to meet up with globally recognized standards as experienced in Japan.
Babacar Makhtar Wade, president of the Senegal Judo, said:
“There are expectations from the whole African continent, and Senegal has to organize games that would live up to the standards of previous Youth Olympics.
And because of that, Senegal is going to make sure it’s a success and serves as a catalyst for mobilizing and engaging Senegalese youth in particular, and African youth in general,”
As the treasurer of the Senegal National Olympic and Sports Committee, he added that plans for renovations/constructions are in the works.
“We are planning to first renovate three main venues — the Iba Mar Diop Stadium, which will host track, rugby and other sports.
There’s also our Olympic pool, which needs to be renovated. It has an adjacent park, which will host a few events such as the BMX freestyle, basketball 3 on 3 and hockey games.
And there is also the Caserne Samba Diery Diallo, where the equestrian-related activities will take place.”
By Elijah Christopher