President Thomas Bach was in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, on Tuesday to see the progress of preparations for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Dakar 2022.
The YOG in Dakar will be the first Olympic event on the African continent - something President Bach described as “historic for Senegal and historic for the continent of Africa”.
The President was able to see some of the preparations for the YOG when he visited Dakar’s 50m swimming pool and aquatics centre, and the site of the urban sports centre which will be nearby. Later, the President was able to experience the enthusiasm of the local people for sport at the “Parcours Sportif” on the beach, where there were demonstrations of taekwondo, fencing and karate. His visit follows the first meeting of the IOC Coordination Commission which took place last month.
Earlier, at the Presidential Palace in Dakar, President Bach was made a Commander of the “Ordre National du Lion” by the President of Senegal, Macky Sall. The Senegalese President talked of the “pride of his country, its people and its President” in staging the Youth Olympic Games, and he said Senegal was “fully engaged with the IOC to deliver historic Games”. The Senegalese President also talked of the importance of sport for supporting social cohesion and international understanding, and offered the support of Senegal for the Olympic Truce Resolution which will be put to the United Nations in December.
President Bach was accompanied throughout his visit to Senegal by IOC Member and President of the Senegal National Olympic Committee Mamadou Ndiaye, who was able to welcome him to the NOC’s new headquarters.
On Monday, the IOC President's African trip began with a visit to Cape Verde. He was accompanied by the new IOC Member in Cape Verde and NOC President, Filomena Fortes. During a meeting with the President of Cape Verde, the two leaders were able to discuss the important role of sport in society, particularly for health and education, and the preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. President Bach also met the Prime Minister of the country as well as the Mayor of the city of Praia. The Prime Minister emphasised the importance of sustainability and environmental protection, and promised his full backing for the Olympic Truce Resolution.
Later, they were welcomed by more than 3,000 young people engaged in a “Sports for Life” event in one of Praia's stadiums. The programme is run in cooperation with UNICEF. Throughout the visit, President Bach was also accompanied by new IOC Member and ANOCA President Mustapha Berraf.
The tour continues this week with visits to Nigeria and Cameroon.