Youth games in limbo

Youth games in limbo

MASERU-The future of the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Youth Games is set to be decided when the next ministerial conference with all representatives from participating countries is held in June or July.
The 2020 Region 5 Youth Games were scheduled to be held in Maseru in December but have been cast into doubt by the COVID-19 pandemic that has brought the world to a standstill.

Lesotho’s former minister of sports, Dr Mahali Phamotse, had previously refused to give updates on the status of the games and had always maintained the ministry is “monitoring the situation”, but now the incoming minister of sports will be the one representing Lesotho in the meetings.

At the moment everything is on pause including Lesotho’s team preparations while, for its part, the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC) has said it is not ready for the games, even without the COVID-19 disruption.
Nevertheless, Lesotho’s 2020 AUSC Games Local Organising Committee (LOC) continues with their office work and they say they will know for sure what will happen after the AUSC Region 5 Member Countries Council of Ministers meeting.

Until then the LOC will continue to promote December’s Maseru games through their newsletters and website.
Speaking on behalf of the LOC, John Tumahole, said they cannot speak with confidence on whether the games will continue or not but they continue with their office jobs.

“At the moment everything is on pause, nothing is happening except things that happen indoors like website designs and things like that,” Tumahole said.
“You will realise we keep saying until December and that’s what we will say until we know what is going to happen. After the ministerial meeting towards June or July we will know, I don’t have exact dates but the games are in December so we will see what the status of coronavirus will be,” he added.

Lesotho hosting of the Region 5 Youth Games has been surrounded by controversy stemming from a botched deal government had negotiated with a South African company to be the financier for the new construction of facilities to be used in December.
It remains to be seen if the games will still be allowed to continue even after the COVID-19 pandemic or if they will be postponed.
The Region 5 Youth Games feature 11 sporting codes being athletics, boxing, basketball, gymnastics, netball, football, judo, tennis, swimming, taekwondo and volleyball.

Tlalane Phahla

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