This week, the Dakar 2026 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) got some more publicity during the Global Sports Week Paris. A dedicated session “Senegal: Gateway to sports’ global future?”, aired live from Dakar, provided for an exciting demonstration of Senegal’s sporting passion, talent and emergence in front of a knowledgeable, international audience following online.
Ibrahima Wade, General Coordinator for Dakar 2026, was joined on the panel by other sports industry leaders from the country and presented how the YOG serve as a catalyst to promote youth empowerment, gender equality and sport development in the region. He highlighted the finalised YOG Edition Plan, a comprehensive document, which defines all key elements necessary for the delivery of the first YOG to be held on the African continent in 2026. These include but are not limited to matters such as the Athlete Competition Programme by sports and events, the Master Plan of Facilities hosting athlete competitions and other activities, budget and finances, and the matrix of roles and responsibilities.
Ibrahima Wade said: “The co-creation of the YOG Dakar 2026 Edition Plan went beyond the writing of its lines and pages. It was an opportunity to have a transparent discussion with the IOC about the details of what the YOG are about and how we are going to deliver them, taking into account the Senegalese context and realities. A mutual understanding of the best ways to deliver the YOG and meet all the expectations, emerged from it. The last page, closing the Edition Plan, opened up the road to this amazing adventure that we're all going to live together.”
IOC Olympic Games Executive Director, Christophe Dubi, said about the Edition Plan after having followed the session: “We are proud of what we have already achieved together with our Senegalese hosts. The Edition Plan is our common key reference of how we plan to deliver the 2026 Dakar YOG, from a strategic as well as from an operational point of view”. He added: “We have tested new ways, co-creation; for a new destination, the continent of Africa. It is a fascinating experience, allowing us to introduce innovative ideas and strive for smart solutions. A blueprint for Senegal and for future hosts!”
The Edition plan for the YOG 2026 was a first in the sense that it was co-created by the hosts, the IOC and other national and international key stakeholders, inspired by the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020 and New Norm. Thereby the local team works in close partnership with the IOC teams to create a joint roadmap until Games time and build several concepts of plans and operations for the selected sites, while benefiting from the knowledge and systems in place from previous YOG.
The Edition Plan for Dakar was actually finalised in summer 2020, just before it was decided to shift the Dakar YOG from 2022 to 2026 due the large scale of the operational challenges which the IOC, the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and the International Federations (IFs) are facing following the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The plans in the document are so solid that many will remain relevant and valid until 2026. During the session at Global Sports Week, Dakar 2026 shared how they are making the most of the four additional years, while building on the positive progress to date. For instance, Dakar 2026 has strengthened its collaboration with the Olympic Movement and a range of key stakeholders that will be instrumental in harnessing the additional time afforded by the postponement to make a greater impact locally and abroad. The organisers of Paris 2024, the French Development Agency, several other development banks, NOCs, IFs and many national stakeholders are on board to develop opportunities that align with Dakar 2026’s vision to “unite youth and sport to contribute to the transformation of Senegal, and a source of inspiration for Africa”. Thanks to the YOG 2026, a strong sport ecosystem is emerging in the country.
Significant investments are already being made in youth and sport as part of the country’s overarching framework “Senegal Emerging Plan” drawn up by the Senegalese government and setting out the vision through to 2035. Dakar 2026 aims to not only put Senegal on the global map for international sporting events, but also showcase the best of Africa, blazing the trail for future initiatives on the continent. The competitions and activities will be held across three cities, showing the many facets of Senegal: the historic capital of Dakar; the new city of Diamniadio; and the natural beauty of Saly on the coast. Read more about the YOG 2026 in Dakar.