THE postponement of the 2022 Youth Olympic Games in Dakar, Senegal is unwelcome but necessary.
So says the president of the TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) Brian Lewis following the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to push back the quadrennial games by one full cycle and host in 2026.
On Wednesday, the IOC accepted a proposal by Senegal President Macky Sall to postpone the Youth Olympics to allow more spacing out of events and better planning.
According to IOC president Thomas Bach, the postponement of Dakar 2022 follows a string of similar decisions made by the fraternity to shelve major international sports events due to operational and financial consequences of the global health crisis.
Although the adjournment may serve as misfortune to TT’s youngsters, Lewis agreed with President Sall’s proposal and the IOC’s decision to delay the Games.
“The postponement is a setback for our youth athletes. The Youth Olympics are a prestigious and key element for their long term athlete development.
“However, with the Junior Pan American Games and Commonwealth Youth Games still scheduled in 2021, there are opportunities,” Lewis said.
The Junior Pan American Games gets underway from June 5 in Cali, Colombia while the Commonwealth Youth Games is still tentatively set at August-1-7 with TT selected as the host nation.
In May, the Commonwealth Games Federation, TTOC and Ministry of Sport decided to explore rescheduling options for the meet due to the global covid19 pandemic. At that time, 2023 was being examined as a new date.
However, Lewis confirmed on Friday the decision to host in 2021 was still “to be decided”.
The Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees president urged young athletes to remain committed to their respective disciplines during the delayed resumption of full sporting activity worldwide.
“I encourage our youth athletes to stay optimistic. It’s challenging times. But the leadership (IOC) has them in mind. I think the IOC made the decision that is the best option in the circumstances. There are no easy decisions in this covid19 pandemic time. The pandemic has disrupted international sport. It’s a long road to 2026,” he declared.
At the same time, the additional time allows Senegal to carry perfecting preparations for the Youth Olympic Games. President Sall and Bach praised the progress made thus far and jointly renewed their confidence in Dakar 2022 president Mamadou Diagna Ndiaye, IOC member in Senegal.
The now 2026 Youth Olympic Games in Dakar will also be the first Olympic event ever to be organised in Africa.