LESOTHO was this week declared the host for the fourth edition of the African Youth Games scheduled for 2022.
Dubbed Maseru 2022, the quadrennial games will see more than 2500 athletes from 54 African countries competing in 28 sporting codes for 10 days.
The games target young African athletes, both girls and boys from the ages of 15–17.
Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) deputy secretary, Letsatsi Ntsibolane, told the Lesotho Times said they are grateful to other African countries that supported their bid.
“We lobbied for votes and other African countries voted for us and we were declared the hosts for the 2012 edition of the games on Monday,” Ntsibolane said.
“The fact that we successfully hosted the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) seminar in 2016 also put us in a good position. It proved that the country has the capacity to host games of this nature.”
He said although the country still lacks infrastructure Minister of Sports Mahali Phamotse, Maseru City Council’s town Clerk Mantai Phaila and the National University of Lesotho (NUL) vice chancellor professor Nqosa Mahao have committed to ensuring that the games succeed.
“Of course, the country lacks infrastructure but fortunately, the government has committed to assisting us to ensure that the games are a success. The NUL will also give us access to the Athletes Village while the Maseru City Council has shown commitment to work with us.”
He said new facilities would also be constructed for indoor games while they are considering using the Maqalika Dam for rowing.
“The country will also be hosting 2020 African Union Sports Council Games so we believe by 2022 we will be ready. There are also some facilities to be constructed especially for indoor games,” he said.
Ntsibolane said the games will present Lesotho athletes with a great opportunity to compete in large numbers as the LNOC does not have to worry about travelling and other expenses.
“This presents such a huge opportunity for our athletes because we will be able to come up with a bigger team since we will not incur travel expenses.
“The most important thing for us now is we should start preparing our team for those games,” Ntsibolane said.