NOC Djibouti commits to country’s success at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games triggered strong reactions from officials of the Djibouti National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSD). To avoid new setbacks for Djiboutian athletes and with the approach adopted for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, NOC Djibouti chose a day to brainstorm and discuss the state of national sports at the People’s Palace. The event brought together leaders of all sports federations, athletes, representatives from the State Secretariat for Sports, parents, sports enthusiasts, and former leaders. It aimed at identifying, correcting, and improving preparation conditions for the country’s elite athletes, for a befitting participation in major international competitions and in the hope of sending a large delegation to the Olympic Games.

A strategic plan for athletes’ preparation and well-being was developed to make relevant decisions and develop appropriate strategies to support the best athletes in their pursuit of outstanding performances. In its new management approach, CNOSD sought to place elite sports at the heart of its actions. The implementation of this strategic plan helped identify ways and means to achieve planned activities. According to CNOSD President, Mrs Aicha GARAD ALI,

“This strategic plan revolves around respect for others, excellence, fair play, teamwork, equality, and good governance.”

Workshop recommendations and the strategic plan were submitted to the highest authority of the country, and a special grant was awarded to support and assist athletes in preparation for upcoming competitions in the short-term, Paris 2024 in the medium-term, and the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics in the long-term. The grant will be devoted to their preparation, participation and all the needs associated with their high-level status.

According to CNOSD Vice-President, Mrs Fardouza MOUSSA,

“It was all about starting anew by providing national sport with the means to achieve its ambitions.”

Based on meeting recommendations, service passports were issued to national team athletes and their coaching staff to facilitate their travel abroad for training and competitions and visa applications, as well as to grant them special status as flag bearers of the nation. A significant budget of 100 million francs, managed by CNOSD and audited annually, was made available for the preparation and participation of elite athletes in competitions. As a result, the best athletes from four national federations were selected to receive scholarships to prepare under optimal conditions at excellence centres. Djiboutian athletes were placed in excellence centres in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Algeria, France, Hungary, and Tokyo to train under the best conditions and to receive better technical support, including the services of a physiotherapist, a healthy and balanced diet, and participation in competitions chosen by their federations. A tripartite performance-based contract was signed by athletes, who committed to improving their performances. They also began receiving monthly scholarships called IOG scholarshipsthanks to the grant awarded by His Excellency, the President of the Republic, in addition to Olympic Solidarity grants.

As incentive for athletes, CNOSD established criteria for awarding excellence prize money to medallists for the Olympic Games, world championships, the African Games and championships, the Youth Olympic Games, etc. To get an idea of these very attractive incentives, at the Olympic Games, a gold medallist is entitled to DF 5,000,000, while silver and bronze medallists are awarded DF 3,000,000 and DF 2,500,000, respectively.

Once these favourable conditions were met, national athletes were able to participate in regional and international competitions, earning their first medals. In 2023 alone, several medals were won. This entire framework has been strengthened by the joint efforts of CNOSD, the State Secretariat for Sports, and all other stakeholders, as well as the direct involvement of the Head of State, His Excellency Ismail Omar Guelleh, who stated his willingness to redefine the national and international sports policy by responding positively to the request of the Sports Movement and putting in place a grants programme.

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