Dakar has been confirmed as the first African host of an Olympic event, with a new 50,000-seat stadium set to be developed to help stage the 2022 Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG).
The fourth edition of the summer Games will be hosted by the Senegalese capital after receiving the unanimous backing of the International Olympic Committee’s membership yesterday (Monday) during the IOC Session on the sidelines of the ongoing summer YOG in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Dakar had been in the box seat for the hosting rights after the IOC last month recommended it be selected over three rival candidacies from Botswana, Nigeria and Tunisia. In February, the IOC voted in favour of securing an African host for the 2022 YOG in the hope that a Youth Olympics could build a road to a first-ever summer Olympic Games on the continent.
The IOC said that Dakar presented the best value proposition and the “greatest opportunities” at this moment in time. Senegal has a large youth population and views the YOG as a catalyst for engaging young people and developing the country’s sport and youth policy.
Significant investments are already being made toward youth and sport as part of the country’s overarching framework ‘Plan Sénégal émergent’, which sets out President Macky Sall’s vision to 2035. IOC president Thomas Bach said: “Africa is united behind Senegal to host the Youth Olympic Games 2022. With a young population and a passion for sport, it is time for Africa, it is time for Senegal.”
The competitions and activities will be held across three cities, with the new city of Diamniadio and the coastal city of Saly joining Dakar. The 2022 Games has an estimated budget of $150m (£114.9m/€130.7m) and Sall said a 50,000-seat Olympic Stadium will be delivered for the state-backed project.
The President, who was present in Buenos Aires for the announcement, added: “Senegal and its young people are proud of the honour you have bestowed upon us, in entrusting the organisation of the Youth Olympic Games 2022 to our country. In fact, it is the whole of Africa, the birthplace of humankind through its history and the youngest continent through its demographics, which will welcome the young athletes of the world in 2022.”
Senegal’s Games vision also includes the development of a rail link and an athletes village which will become university accommodation post-event. The IOC said Botswana, Nigeria and Tunisia have all pledged support to Senegal’s event.
“In Africa, when a family organises a party all the neighbours chip in and they help organising the event,” Burundi’s IOC member Lydia Nsekera said, according to the Associated Press news agency. “It doesn’t matter, everyone will be there to help President Macky Sall organise and stage these Games.”