Morocco will in May this year host the inaugural African Youth Games. The games, which will see participation from all the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) members, will be held in the cities of Rabat and Casablanca.
The Botswana National Olympic Committee CEO, Tuelo Serufho, told the Sunday Standard that the games had been organized by ANOCA, of which Botswana is a member, and would be held on the 9th to the 15th of May this year in Morocco.
Serufho noted that the games are targeting young African athletes, both girls and boys of 15-17 years, and about 14 sports codes will be featured at the continental event.
“A total of 14 sports codes will see participation at the games, among them athletics, basketball, boxing, fencing, football, gymnastics, Judo, rowing, swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, swimming and gymnastics,” he said.
He stated that all the other disciplines’ competitions will be held at Rabat whereas swimming and gymnastics will be held at Casablanca. He further stated that it may be possible for Botswana to partake in all codes except for fencing, which is not a familiar sport in the country.
Serufho also asserted that the Youth games will assist in preparing athletes for the upcoming Youth Olympics Games in August in Singapore.
“We believe that the games will also precisely prepare athletes for the Youth Olympic Games and, at the moment, we are engaging those eligible to participate in Singapore to use these games as a preparation platform,” he said.
Serufho explained that since there is a local Olympic organising committee, they are working closely with them and also considering what sports codes to take for the games as well as how many participants they can hopefully send.
The Africa Youth Games are also hoped to only be limited to sports encounters for the young across the continent but will also include a culture and education programme as well as act as a catalyst in promoting friendship, unity and peace.
The Games will come three months before the first ever Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and will give the young athletes a unique opportunity to train for the major event.