Dear readers ;
The 32nd summer Olympic games of modern era officially started last Friday with an opening ceremony which brought together 206 participating delegations march-passing. These Games which were postponed for a year officially started 2 873 days after the designation of Tokyo as host city on 7 September 2013 in Buenos Aires. Needless to remind the very difficult context within which this event is being held and which is marked by the Covid-19 crisis, which compelled the IOC to postpone this competition which was previously scheduled for 2020. The great opening parade which took place within the Tokyo National Olympic Stadium displayed through a multicoloured show, Japan’s main features, notably its high acquired technological level where, at the heart of the night, « the earth » appeared in the city’s sky. A performance which was made possible thanks to the exceptional coordination of 1 800 drones. Tokyo set the tone of these summer Olympic Games; a foretaste of this feast which, for two weeks, will bring together participants from all over the planet. Tokyo 2020 is also somehow celebrating life, because in spite of Covid-19’s several waves, the world of sports did not succumb, it showed proof of resilience. It is also the crowning of one man’s dynamism and resolve who believed in these games and who succeeded in finding the best strategy to stage them despite the adverse health context; this man is no other than IOC President, our dear friend Dr. Thomas Bach. On this 23 July, we all witnessed this Japanese show where an outstanding cocktail of fireworks made us dream. We were charmed by an impressive artistic choreography.
The delegation’s march-pass which followed was a wonderful moment of sharing and a blend of cultures. African various delegations showed the the rest of the world an image of a proud continent, visibly aiming at peoples’ emancipation. These nations’ performance proved that in Africa, origin, religion or colour don’t matte. Only sport counts.
I am proud, with the entire ANOCA family, that all of Africa got mobilized for this great Olympic family ; this is testimony of our continent’ vitality, its rich human resources, its talents and its confidence in the future.
The message sent by Africa sounded loudly and clearly: our continent traveled to Tokyo to give a positive image, to make its voice heard both in the cultural and sporting aspects.
during these Games, Africa intends to portray to the world a true image of its sports potentials ; we will more thane ver before assert our presence among sporting nations. I wish good luck to all African nations who, despite the trying health situation, trained well with the assistance of ANOCA, governments, continental sports confederations, their trainers and various partners. I would also like to hail the presence in this ceremony of various continental political, diplomatic and sports authorities which, through this gesture, confirmed that united, Africans may contemplate these Games with serenity and optimism.
I call on you to discover this first issue of « Africa at Tokyo 2020 », the event’s newsletter ANOCA intends to publish here in the Japanese capital to brief you on the latest developments regarding Africa’s participation in these Olympic Games. This first issue, as to stick to the context, is fully devoted to the Games’ opening ceremony and to ANOCA’s activities on Japanese soil.
Enjoy your reading !
Mustapha Berraf, IOC Member, ANOCA President