The Mali National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSM) organised the first ever National Youth Games from 24 to 31 December 2017 in Bamako. The project is initiated by CNOSM President, Habib Sissoko and this edition of ANOCA Newsletter comes back to that maiden event.
Rallying round a novel project
The National Youth Games of Mali are a novel concept whose ambition is to bandage and heal the socio-political wounds that have eroded the solid glue of national unity. They also afford a platform for youth communion, bringing hearts together, reconciling minds, making ethnic diversity an asset and not a liability. The National Youth Games of Mali are a powerful instrument for talent revelation and also a talent nursery for the country. From Kayes to Kidal, from Bamako to Taoudeni, youths of Mali came together to communion and fraternise through sport. New friendships were forged, relations established, leading to a union of hearts based on no other considerations but the power of love. The point can hardly be overemphasised, sport is a powerful lever of development and a factor of national unity in most States. It unites where hearts are divided. Youths of Mali lived that experience recently; for eight days, they came together and entertained themselves with diverse sports activities, shunning all ethnic, social or religious peculiarities. All the ten administrative regions of the country as well as the district of Bamako participated in the Games, which afforded an ideal forum for youths to foster the cause for peace and national cohesion.
The maiden National Youth Games of Mali featured two major highlights, namely the opening and closing (medal award) ceremonies. The opening ceremony was staged on 25 December and was graced by a host of dignitaries, amongst them the First Lady, Mrs Keïta Aminata Maïga, member of CNOSM and the National Olympic Academy and the Minister of Youth and Citizenship Development, Amadou Koïta, representing his counterpart of the Ministry of Sports, Housseini Amion Guindo. It all kicked off in a festive mood, with a colourful march past of various delegations: Bamako, Kayes, Koulikoro, Sikasso, Segou, Mopti, Gao, Timbuktu, Kidal, Taoudénit and Menaka.
After the welcome word by the representative of the host Council area, the CNOSM President, Habib Sissoko, took the floor and placed the event in context: “It is our joy and pride, on this 25th day of December 2017, to launch the maiden National Youth Games. For several years, we nursed the hope of creating a platform for communion and fraternity for our youths,” he declared.
The Minister of Youth Affairs and Citizenship Development, Amadou Koïta, on his part lauded the wonderful CNOSM initiative of rallying all youths of Mali around sport, a factor for social cohesion.
The medal award ceremony that drew the curtains on the games was an opportunity for organisers to reward outstanding athletes.
Hotly contested sports events, succession assured
The maiden edition of the National Youth Games of Mali afforded over 800 young athletes the opportunity to bare their talents in 7 disciplines, notably women’s indoor football (6×6), basketball (3×3), athletics, karate, taekwondo, handball and volleyball. More so, the games were an excellent opportunity for them to prepare for upcoming events, notably the African Youth Games and the Youth Olympic Games. In effect, CNOSM sought, with the organisation of this continental sports event, to create an exceptional succession preparation platform in Mali. The technical regulations were drawn up in collaboration with national sports federations. The events were hotly contested, as the young athletes sought, in every discipline, to outdo themselves. In a nutshell, the sporting aspect met all expectations, a pointer to the fact that there is a valid succession, which bears the hope of a promising future for sport in Mali.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today approved plans to target African National Olympic Committees (NOCs) as potential host cities of the fourth edition of the Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2022.
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