IOC Coordination Commission chair claims four-year delay of Summer Youth Olympics a “huge benefit”

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Dakar 2026 Coordination Commission chair Kirsty Coventry has claimed the four-year delay of the Summer Youth Olympics has been a “huge benefit” for the organisers as she backed them to deliver an “extraordinary” Games.

The Senegalese capital was originally scheduled to stage the Games this year only for it to be moved to 2026 because of the operational and economic consequences of the coronavirus-enforced postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

However, Coventry believes the move has worked in Dakar 2026’s favour after running the rule over plans for the event following the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) latest hybrid Coordination Commission meeting.

“We have just wrapped up a very successful fourth Coordination Commission on Dakar 2026,” said Coventry.

“It was a wonderful morning spent with very impressive presentations from the Dakar 2026 team.

“The postponement from 2022 to 2026 has been a huge benefit.

“We all know that COVID has complicated many of our lives for many different reasons.

“But the postponement has opened up new opportunities that we can see.

“We have seen this delivered already from the Dakar 2026 team with the many interactions that they have had with young people across Dakar and Senegal and for the Coordination Commission this was really exciting because it talks to the pre-legacy of the Games and I don’t know any Organising Committee for a Youth Olympics that have had this opportunity.”The Youth Olympics were initially slated to take place from October 22 to November 9 this year.

Coventry revealed that the Coordination Commission and Dakar 2026 team had agreed to hold the Games during a similar timeframe in 2026 with the dates set to be confirmed by the IOC’s Executive Board in December.

Other areas discussed at the meeting included marketing and communications, refurbishment and construction of venues and the sports programme, according to Coventry.

“After the past two days of fruitful discussions, we have definitely been given assurances,” said Coventry.

“We have seen the enthusiasm and momentum that the team has had even during COVID times which gives us so much confidence that they will be able to deliver an extraordinary Games with very strong pre-legacy – all the things that we would like to focus on.

“We are really looking forward to continuing our strong collaboration.

“I always like to say that ‘team work makes the dream work’ and so far the team has been working very well with the IOC team and Coordination Commission so we are very confident in what has been done and the assurances that have been given to date.

“We will continue to work closely, acknowledging the different milestones that are set to come in the next four years and focus on those.”

IOC Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi added: “We are fully confident and the reason is because we have gone over the entire project in detail.

“We have talked about the strategic plan, the roadmap for 2023 and 2024 and covered the development of the organisation itself with the various entities and the people that are going to be joining in the next few months.

“We are already seeing the impact of that today, with a lot of activities and enthusiasm on the ground.”