By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has nominated Senegal as host country for the 4th Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2022, making it the first Olympic event in history to take place on the African continent.
One of the highlights of the YOG will be the leading rugby sevens teams competing against each other. Rugby sevens made its debut at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing and was one of 32 sports at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.
“The 2022 Youth Olympic Games in Senegal represents a fantastic opportunity to showcase rugby sevens in Africa. Rugby is the fastest growing sport on the continent. In 2002, only six African nations played rugby. Now there are 38! Out of 105 countries playing rugby competitively in the world, one third are African countries,” stated Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, founder and CEO of APO Group, and the main official sponsor of the World Rugby African Association, Rugby Africa.
President of IOC, Mr Thomas Bach, recently declared “It is time for Africa – the home of many successful and prominent Olympic athletes. Africa is a continent of youth. That is why we want to take the Youth Olympic Games 2022 to Africa and to Senegal. They have offered a project based on a strong vision for youth and sport. There are many opportunities, and we will endeavour to deliver together, as part of a strong partnership, a visionary, responsible and inspiring Youth Games”.
Senegal’s application was based on three sites: the capital, Dakar; the new city of Diamniadio; and the seaside resort of Saly. Senegal’s project is tied to the country’s general development strategy, notably the national government’s “Emerging Senegal’’ plan, which envisions major economic and infrastructure improvements.
“According to the United Nations, Africa will have nearly 4.5 billion inhabitants by 2100, representing 40% of the world’s population. Several years ago, multinational companies realised that Africa could no longer be ignored. It is now up to international sports federations to focus on Africa. The competition between the sports will be fierce and first to come will certainly be the first served; a key factor being a significant increase in the number of participants and their income from sponsorship and television broadcasting rights”, added Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard.
The 2022 Summer Youth Olympic Games will be the fourth edition of the Summer Youth Olympic Games and the seventh edition of the Youth Olympic Games.
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