Some dignitaries of the African Olympic Movement and athletes who took part in the Abidjan round table devoted some time for a word with ANOCA Newsletter. They gave their overall impressions on the organisation of the forum.
Kirsty Coventry : Olympic swimming champion
I think the forum is a great idea and thank you to President Palenfo for coming up with the idea to create a winning strategy for Tokyo 2020. I think it’s just in time because normally, if we leave 4 to 8 years it’s good enough. But here we’re going to be discussing different things about cooperation, how to harmonise, how to identify the sports, how to identify athletes and then how do we support those athletes. What are their individual needs and how are we going to support those needs.
Hicham El Guerrouj, Olympic athletics champion
Yes, I can tell you, I am delighted to be here in Abidjan for this forum so that we can together map out a strategy for our athletes for Tokyo 2020. I see that athletes have made tremendous progress compared to previous years or previous Olympiads and our role today, together with ANOCA, is to be able to provide maximum support and backing, supervision especially, so that our athletes can win more medals in Tokyo. So, today, we mainly provide support. I am really delighted that ANOCA has made much progress as against previous years and our role is also to do more, because we want to make athletes the focus of our organisation, the focus of our sports institutions.
Gl. Ahmed NASSER, President of AASC
First of all, I would like to congratulate my dear colleague and friend, General Lassana Palenfo, the President of ANOCA on the great work that has been done before, for preparation and for being able to exceed the number of medals. It was done before in Rio de Janeiro there were some more. Of course we hope that we will be able to achieve more, but this will not come out of nowhere. It will come with planning as we are doing today. I am very humbled to be among the planning team as ANOCA and AASC become one body representing the Olympic Movement in Africa. And that is what we are working for. Today is a very good day and a very important day for us to be able to plan, not only targeting but to plan and put our business plan, and as I was talking to H.E. Palenfo that we are not talking about 2020, yesterday we were talking about 2020, but later on we talked about 2024 as well. So, we have a short term and a long term plan to be able to allocate what are the talents and the best athletes can be able to achieve a better standard and more medals for Africa.
Ruth Gbagbi , Taekwondo Bronze Medallist, Rio 2016
First of all, I wish to thank the President of ANOCA and the Minister of sports for this initiative, and I want to assure you that I received the ANOCA scholarship for the Rio Games and it is comforting. As an athlete, it was motivating and I think it is a laudable initiative. I believe ANOCA can do more, and it seems I even heard here that the grant will be increased. I think this will be comforting for athletes ahead of Tokyo and will galvanise them.
SNOUSSI Abdel MAJID, National Technical Director, NOC Tunisia
You just came out of the workshop that sought to identify the types of athletes, sports, and the priority actions to be adopted for a winning strategy in Tokyo 2020. What is your appraisal after that workshop?
Well, all colleagues discussed the relevance of choosing sports that perform highly in a bid to lend necessary support to efforts aimed at meeting ANOCA’s goal, that of winning more medals than in Rio. So, there was a lot of conversation, with contributions from several experts, and each person presented their country’s experience, their experiences when they were active athletes, and this helped us draw the necessary conclusions. First of all, to have in the list of athletes who already won medals in Rio, to which will be added the most outstanding athletes for 2017. And these shall be verified with lists that will be submitted by NOCs to select Olympic scholarship beneficiaries through Olympic Solidarity.