Ministry plots next move on Games

Ministry plots next move on Games

MASERU-Minister of Sports, Likeleli Tampane, and her ministry are in advanced talks to decide the future of the 2022 African Youth Games which are slated for Maseru.

Lesotho was awarded the games by the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) in 2018 and there are 532 days to go until the event which is planned to take place between February 25 and March 6 in 2022.

However, with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, a spanner has been put in the works and it appears unlikely the continental showpiece will go ahead as planned.

A decision on whether to postpone the games was, in fact, supposed to have been made last month but sources say the sports ministry was still exploring its options.
Speaking to thepost this week, however, the ministry’s spokesperson, Maqalika Matsepe, confirmed the ministry would make an announcement this month and he did not sound confident the 2022 African Youth Games would continue as scheduled.

Last month, Tampane postponed the regional 2020 AUSC Region 5 Games that were set to be held in December in Maseru and they have now been pushed back to December 2021.

In its report to the African Union Sports Council Region 5 committee, Lesotho said the Covid-19 pandemic had affected preparations for the AUSC games and made it unrealistic for the country to host the event because of a lack of infrastructure.

A similar diagnosis is likely for the 2022 African Youth Games.
“The decision whether to postpone the games should have been made last month but the minister will have a meeting this month to make the decision about the games, at the moment we are in coronavirus situation so we don’t know whether the games will continue,” Matsepe said.

The 2022 Youth Games were set to mark the first time Lesotho hosts an event by ANOCA with the country having never staged the African Games or African Youth Games before.
The slogan for Lesotho’s bid was “One Voice, One Africa: Sport Speaks” and it beat out the Republic of Congo which was also reportedly interested in staging the games.

The African Youth Games are specifically for athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 and they aim to contribute to the development of African sport and the growth of Olympic values.
Maseru 2022 was set to be the fourth edition of the event which was first held in Morocco’s capital Rabat in 2010 and has had subsequent editions in Gaborone, Botswana (2014) and Algiers, Algeria (2018).

The Covid-19 pandemic, however, has caused widespread disruption.
Last month the 2022 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Dakar, Senegal, were pushed back by four years to 2026 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The Dakar Youth Olympics were set to be the first-ever Olympic event to be held in Africa.

Tlalane Phahla

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