- Tunis temporarily banned from bidding
- IOC pleased with Botswana’s credentials
- Government yet to commit on supporting the bid
The capitals of Senegal- Dakar and Botswana’s Gaborone have emerged as the early front runners in the race to win the bid to host the 2022 Youth Olympics. This comes after Tunis (Tunisia’s capital)’s bid was put on hold until they have taken steps to end the restrictions on Israeli athletes competing at their events.
Last week Gazette Sport revealed that Botswana was amongst the four African nations that had shown interest in bidding for the the 2022 Youth Olympics after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made it clear that they wanted the games to be held in Africa. This was later followed by a visit by the IOC into the country last week Friday to inspect local facilities. Though the Botswana National Olympic Committee Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tuelo Serufho was not available for comment, this publication has been informed that the visitors were satisfied with Gaborone’s credentials to host the games.
This publication understands that Gaborone was the second city from the four bidding cities (Abuja, Tunis, Dakar, Gaborone) to be toured by the IOC officials after they were said to have visited Dakar sometime last month and also expressed their satisfaction with its readiness to host.
Reports from Tunisia suggest that the country’s bid has temporarily been banned as a result of their restrictions to ban Israeli athletes from participating in their events. The Tunisian High Court in March banned four Israeli athletes from competing at the World Junior Taekwondo Championships in Hammamet.
“As you know, at the present time in Tunisia we have a specific set of circumstances. We are not evaluating their proposal at this point in time. They have raised their interest, but we have been clear that we are not entertaining any further work until the conditions for the acceptance of all athletes have been met,” IOC Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi was quoted by international media.
This now means that the IOC will consider only three bids (Gaborone, Abuja and Dakar). The Nigerian capital Abuja was said to had been interested in hosting the 2018 Youth Olympics, which were awarded to Buenos Aires. Reports suggested that the state of peace and security in Nigeria could have been one of the key reasons why they were turned down. The country, despite bidding for different various international sporting events in the past, last hosted a major event in 2003 (All Africa Games).
According to a report released by World Atlas this year, Nigeria is ranked sixth (6th) amongst war torn nations in the world.
Meanwhile, this publication has also established that the BNOC are still yet to convince government on supporting their bid. It is said that the BNOC intends to use President Mokgweetsi Masisi as the ‘face’ of their bid, and talks are still ongoing.