PYONGYANG : Young African athletes get introduced to winter sports

A total of 51 young Africans recently had an intense winter sports training experience as from 30 May 2022 in Pyongyang, capital city of South Korea. The programme, which ended on 12 June, was part of the fruitful cooperation between ANOCA and Gangwon Province, Republic of Korea. 

The opening ceremony, which had earlier taken place by videoconference, featured a number of addresses, amongst them that delivered by Governor Moon of Gangwon Province, who welcomed participants, wishing them a pleasant stay. 

Other addresses included that of IOC President, Dr Thomas BACH and the ANOCA President’s, which was delivered by Matlohang MOILOA-RAMOQOPO, representing the Honourable Mustapha BERRAF.

Members of the ANOCA Executive Committee and Presidents of African NOCs congratulated the ANOCA President on this initiative, which benefits African athletes and youth, young people born between 2006 and 2009.  Each athlete had to have experience in any sport, be able to hold a conversation in English or French and preferably had received at least two vaccination shots against Covid-19. Unvaccinated participants observed a seven-day quarantine upon arrival in Korea.

These procedures for young athletes were same for coaches accompanying them.

There were 14 coaches for the African delegation which comprised the following 12 countries: Algeria, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan and Tunisia. For 14 days, the young people participated actively in a sports programme that included meetings with Olympians, an introduction to board sports, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, downhill skiing, ski jumping and physical events, which mainly took place in the afternoons. 

There was also a cultural programme that featured awareness raising against doping, gender equality education, human rights and peace education.  Relaxation was also part of the deal with a visit to Gangnung beach, K-Pop and B-boy dance lessons and a farewell dinner to crown it all. 

This summer camp, which the organisers termed very positive, will be followed by a winter camp during which the athletes and coaches will have the opportunity to visit a ski resort in North Korea all night till dawn.  Athletes will only be able to train in the sport recommended to them at the summer camp; they will have the opportunity to take part in competitions organised at the PyeonChang venues, all spiced with cultural and educational activities.