By Sammy Heywood Okine
The cultural and educational program of the African Youth Games 2018 on 5-15 July in Algiers has been unveiled during the 17th ordinary session of the General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ACNOA) held in Abidjan.
Algiers was announced as the host city of the 2018 African Youth Games in after their bid enjoyed the personal backing of the country’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
The announcement, revealed during a meeting of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) in the capital city today, follows the opening of a bidding process last December.
ANOCA President, and honorary International Olympic Committee member, Lassana Palenfo, confirmed following the meeting.
He said: “Consequent to a scrutiny of bids submitted by countries that applied to host the 3rd African Youth Games in May 2018, the ANOCA Executive Committee decided, by a wide majority, to entrust the organisation of the youth jamboree to Algeria, which presented an impeccable bid.”
A final decision was made following an inspection tour of several scheduled games venues by a high-level ANOCA delegation on Tuesday (March 18).
Among the sports facilities they inspected were the local suburbs of Souidania, Koléa and Cheraga, as well as the Mohamed-Boudiaf Olympic Complex and the Ouled Fayet Students’ Hostel, where athletes will be lodged during the Games..
The African Youth Games targets the 14 to 18 age group, and is thought to contribute to the development of African sport and to the growth of Olympic values, as well as act as a trial run for the Olympic Games.
Algiers 2018 will be the third edition of the quad-annual Games, following a maiden event held in Rabat, Morocco in July 2010, with the second version taking place in the Botswanan capital of Gaborone from May 22 to 31.
The 2018 hosting agreement will be officially confirmed with a signing ceremony, between ANOCA and the Algeria Olympic Committee, on the sidelines of the Games in Gaborone
It will follow other major sporting events held in the north African country, including the 1978 and 2007 editions of the All-African Games, the 1975 Mediterranean Games and the 1990 African Cup of Nations football tournament, which was also won by the host country.
Delight in the latest decision was also conveyed by the Algerian Olympic Committee President Mustapha Berraf, who described how the governing body “can only be honoured by the choice of our country to host the Games, an African youth festival”.
He added: “This confidence placed in us is proof that Algeria occupies a choice place within sports governing bodies in Africa.
“We shall harness all efforts to live up to our billing.”
The Games consists of a programme of 20 compulsory sports, of which the only non-Olympic one is karate, which is unlikely any more will be added for 2018, although it is possible demonstration events in other sports could be held.