Reporting from PyeongChang, South Korea – Countries across Africa seem to be lining up for a chance to bid for the Youth Olympic Games in 2022.
L’Equipe has reported that Senegal is leading the way, announcing that it is ready to move forward with a bid.
“As soon as we have received the specifications, we are ready to apply,” said Senegal’s Olympic and Sport Committee President Mamadou Ndiaye, adding “we have recently renovated or built a lot of sports facilities and infrastructure.”
The French report also points to potential bids from both Morocco and South Africa.
The IOC Session voted Wednesday to approve the Executive Board recommendation and proactively find interested African bids for the Games and then elect the host city at the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympics in October.
The IOC says the bid process will be simple and streamlined, doing away with the typical competitive campaign to instead engage a more collaborative approach. They’ll recommend the use of all previously existing facilities.
“Africa is the home of so many very successful Olympic athletes,” Bach said in PyeongChang Wednesday.
“Africa is a continent of youth. That is why we want to take the Youth Olympic Games 2022 to Africa. The IOC will proactively approach a number of African NOCs to evaluate the feasibility of such a project.”
Bach later said that a Youth Olympic Games in Africa could inspire a bid for the Olympic Games starting in 2032.
If the plan follows through, it will be the first time an Olympic event will be staged in Africa.
The Youth Olympic Games were launched with the inaugural event in Singapore in 2010, a project by IOC President Jacques Rogge. When the Games later lacked publicity and focus, the IOC redirected the concept to become an incubator for new sport and to stage the competitions in places that are not at a scale to host the mainstream Olympics.
Morocco is currently bidding for the 2026 FIFA World Cup against a coalition from Canada, U.S.A. and Mexico. Durban in South Africa was awarded the Commonwealth Games in 2022 only to have them revoked when financial milestones were missed.
The next Winter Youth Olympics are set to take place in Lausanne, Switzerland in 2022.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.