The African Youth Games have been confirmed to take place in Congo, Brazzaville over Easter of 2023.
The confirmation came at the sidelines of the General Assembly of Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) that concluded on Friday in Seoul, South Korea, where NOC-K was represented by the President, Dr. Paul Tergat and Secretary General, Francis Mutuku.
The news is highly welcomed by NOC-K considering it had earlier been scheduled for 2022 in Egypt but later postponed.
NOC-K had already started preparing for the same, with holiday camps being organised and the management team put in place.
The African Youth Games is a multi-sport event held every four years as a prelude to the Summer Youth Olympics.
They’ve not been held since 2018, affected by the global pandemic that also resulted in the first Olympic Games to be organised on African soil to be postponed, that is, Dakar 2022 Youth Olympics which will now be held in 2026.
The Games are organised by ANOCA (Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa) and are targeted at young African athletes, both girls and boys of 14–18 years, with about 30 sports codes.
Kenya has participated in the last two editions in Gaborone and Algiers, improving their medal tally from 11 to 15 between the two Games.
In preparation, the NOC-K Youth Commission has organised a holiday camp in December, designed to build more on the success of the April camp which had close to 200 youth athletes in various disciplines.
The training camps maximise school holidays to prepare the targeted athletes in high performance environments which they might not find in school.
Similarly, the African Beach Games have also been confirmed to take place in Tunis, Tunisia in the second half of the year.
The dates will be confirmed in collaboration with ANOC who are organising the World Beach Games confirmed for Bali, Indonesia on 5-15 August 2023.
These are new age sports that offer exciting sporting spectacle. Kenya first participated in 2019 and brought home 5 medals in marathon, beach tennis and beach volleyball.
In preparations, NOC-K is planning to host a national beach games festival at the coastal strip in the first quarter of 2023, predominantly to identify teams to prepare for the continental and world games later in the year.
The sports program for the World Games has been released and it is expected that the African event will follow the same.
The sports include Aquathlon, Beach Handball, Beach Soccer, Beach Tennis, Beach Volley 4×4, Beach Waterpolo, Beach Wrestling, Individual Kata, Expression Kiteboarding and Open Water Swimming 5km. Four additional sports will be added and confirmed in due course.
Most of these sports are already being practiced in Kenya, some very competitive like beach handball which has an ongoing league.
National Federations have been asked to follow up on qualification standards and events with their International Federations to ensure that Kenyan teams do not miss out. NOC-K is ready to support them through the pathway as we work towards occupying the beach games space in the continent.