Abuja, 2 August 2017: the International Olympic Committee has officially approved the idea of making the African Youth Games a qualifying event for for the 2018 summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. In a correspondence dated 26 July 2017, IOC President, Thomas Bach, notified ANOCA of the body’s decision. According to the IOC, the decision was taken following a shift in the dates of the YOGs, which caused the qualification period for individual sports to be extended to 31 July 2018, meaning that the African Youth Games could henceforth be used as a qualifying event for the relevant sports disciplines.
In plainer terms, following an adjustment in the schedule of qualifiers for the YOGs, the 2018 African Youth Games in Algiers will act as qualifiers for the Youth Olympic Games in the case of individual sports. The IOC further opens the possibility for two team sports, rugby and hockey, to also act as qualifiers for the planetary event provided the relevant International Federations give their approval.
This welcome move has once more come to confirm the consideration the IOC has for the ANOCA youth event.
The African Youth Games originated from the ANOCA Games organised in various development zones of the Association in 2006 at the initiative of President Lassana Palenfo. The goal back then was to experiment the concept by organising various sports encounters for youths aged 14 to 18. These regional games met with real success, appreciated by athletes, sports administrators and various African state authorities. Following the organisational successes recorded by the concerned zones on and off the pitches, leaders of the of the African Olympic Movement thought of organising a bigger event at a single venue with the aim of bringing youths of the Continent closer, making them more competitive and increasing the number of disciplines on schedule. The maiden edition of the great sports and cultural jamboree was thus celebrated in Rabat, Morocco from 13 to 18 July 2010. The second edition, as successful as the first, took place from 22 to 31 May 2014 in Gaborone, Botswana. The city of Algiers, Algeria, is bracing to welcome the third edition billed for 2018 and which, as already mentioned, will act as a qualifying tournament for the youth Olympic Games. The event is thus expected to attract the cream of African athletes and as such raise the technical level of the games. This will of course add to its marketing value and thus attract more sponsors.