The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board today approved the sports and event programme for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Dakar 2022, which will see five sports join the initial 28 on the programme and full gender equality in terms of not only the number of athletes, but also the male and female representation in each sport and event for the first time in Olympic history.
Innovation and an ongoing focus on youth sport have been paramount for the athlete competition programme from the outset of the Youth Olympic Games. To follow the natural pathway of the Youth Olympian, Dakar 2022 will see inclusion of all the youth-focused sports proposed by Paris 2024: breaking, surfing, sport climbing and skateboarding. Highly popular youth-focused sports seen at previous YOG, such as futsal, basketball 3×3 and hockey 5s, will continue for 2022, while new events will also make their debut, such as beach wrestling, and the sport of karate will continue its YOG journey.
“The Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2022 will be the first Olympic event on the African continent which is historic for Senegal and historic for the continent of Africa. The agreed athlete competition is youthful and completely gender-balanced and shows that the IOC continues to develop the Youth Olympic Games that will feature over 4500 athletes from all NOCs.”, said IOC President Thomas Bach.
Following the initial athlete competition programme confirmation in March 2019, significant work has been undertaken by the IOC in parallel with the International Federations to reach a new milestone in gender equality across all sports, while helping to reduce costs and demands on the Dakar 2022 organisers. In particular, the sports of boxing, gymnastics and wresting will also reach gender parity for the first time.
In line with the New Norm approach to reduce the cost and complexity of the Games, the sports and event programme for Dakar 2022 will maintain the overall number of events (239) from Buenos Aires 2018, while reducing the Youth Olympic Village capacity from 4,000 athletes to 2,650 via the introduction of the two waves of athletes system. This will allow for an increase in athlete participation to over 4,500 without any additional impact on infrastructure.
Existing venues have been identified for each sport to ensure that the Youth Olympic Games are adapted to the local environment by maximising existing, temporary or shared venues, such as a temporary venue for hockey, a coastal programme for canoe and rowing, and the first beach start and open-water swim for modern pentathlon at the YOG.
To ensure alignment with the elite level youth pathway, all sports are considered with the natural progression of the athlete in mind. Each International Federation has proposed formats for Dakar 2022 that represent a natural progression in the careers of the young athletes and onto the Olympic stage.