Botswana African Youth Games Organising Committee (BAYGOC) chairman, Ms Regina Sikalesele-Vaka has acknowledged government for its concerted investment in the sporting infrastructure that has made it possible to host the 2nd African Youth Games.
In her message during the Gaborone2014 games opening ceremony on Thursday, Ms Sikalesele-Vaka also acknowledged ANOCA for affording Botswana opportunity to host the games.
She also applauded sponsors and donors (past and present) for their contributions which have developed the sporting industry in Botswana and made the games a reality as well as all the talented youth showcased in the opening ceremony for their participation.
“Africa was a continent often depicted as disadvantaged; and yet Africa is the continent of plenty; with her platinum, diamonds, gold, oil, wildlife, landmarks and amazing, talented human resources. Indeed it is these resources derived from Africa, one way or the other that have built the foundation of the world economy. Slowly the global compass is turning back to Africa so let us use this moment as Africa’s time to shine,” she said.
Over the next 10 days, dreams will turn into reality, diverse teams of talented Africans will work together to deliver a platform to showcase African talent as Botswana celebrates the coming together of 54 African countries to unveil African talent; Unity in diversity.
Ms Sikalesele-Vaka said preparations for the games were extremely demanding due to the short timeframe.However, she was pleased that the Committee overcame most hurdles and remained intact to the end to deliver a spectacular 10 days of activity. The first youth games hosted in Raba, Morocco in 2010, featured 40 African countries with 2000 Athletes and 16 sports.
The Gaborone2014 games, she said are bigger with all 54 African countries participating in 21 sports namely; Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Canoeing, Cycling, Fencing, Football, Golf, Judo, Karate, Netball, Rowing, Rugby, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Triathlon, Volleyball and Weightlifting. The games provide a platform for the youth to rehearse for the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Nanjing China next month.
“We are particularly excited to welcome new sporting codes; canoeing, fencing, triathlon and I take this opportunity to salute the Confederations for introducing the sports to Botswana. Most of these sporting codes in Botswana are run by selfless men and women who have sacrificed their time to nurture young talent and to grow the sporting industry in Botswana. I salute them. I further salute all Sports teachers in Botswana Educational facilities for their contribution to Sports,” she said.
The games are hosted in 17 venues in Gaborone and surrounding towns with the University of Botswana designated as the Games Village where 4000 Athletes and officials are accommodated with full meals. Former Olympiad, Mr Robert “Malelele” Chideka has been appointed as Mayor of the Games Village in recognition of his contribution to the Olympic movement in Botswana.
Adequate buses and cars have been arranged for the athletes to travel in and around the venues and the city. Maximum security is provided for the Games Village and athletes by the Botswana Police and four private security companies. The University of Botswana Clinic is operating as the polyclinic with several mobile clinics in most venues and several referral Hospitals in and around Gaborone.Finally, she acknowledged the young team at the secretariat and supporting entities who have sacrificed less than a year of their lives at the games but have gained over a decade in wisdom.
“I was honoured to Chair this Committee which was assisted by a Secretariat of 42. In the true Olympiad spirit of volunteerism, the Organising Committee undertook this national assignment without remuneration of any kind, but that notwithstanding, the levels of commitment of this Committee are unparalleled. I take this opportunity to salute them. Le ka moso betsho,” she said.