The 141st International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session today heard about the progress being made in preparation for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Dakar 2026.
Speaking via a video message, Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, highlighted his confidence in the Dakar project, “I am confident that the President Mamadou Diagna Ndiaye and his Organizing Committee team will continue their tireless efforts to ensure that all commitments made in Buenos Aires in 2018 are fulfilled and thus make the Dakar 2026 YOG a historic success for the entire Olympic family.”
Following the inspiring presentations by IOC member in Senegal Mamadou Ndiaye and the General Coordinator of the Organizing Committee, Ibrahima Wade, the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Dakar 2026, Kirsty Coventry, said: “We are a united team, with a common goal : to make sure the YOG in Dakar in 2026 are a huge success and have a positive impact on young people, not just in Senegal, but around the world.”
The Session was informed about the work to finalize the updated Edition Plan in the coming months, which will serve as a baseline for the activities of the Organizing Committee for the years to come by defining all the key elements necessary for the delivery of the event.
The Dakar 2026 Organizing Committee has been working in close collaboration with the International Federations and the IOC in order to find optimizations in the overall event programme. Work is focused on key aspects of the competition – athlete quotas, number of events, formats and schedule – and will continue over the coming months.
Venues and infrastructures
An update was also provided on the renovation and construction work that is being carried out ahead of the YOG. This included timelines for the refurbishments still to be initiated, with work set to begin in the first quarter of 2024.
Youth engagement and mobilization
“Dakar en Jeux,” a key initiative of Dakar 2026, is set to return for its second edition. This program is designed to bring sports and the Olympic spirit to Senegalese communities in the lead-up to the YOG. Through various sports events and workshops, Dakar en Jeux will engage local youth, promote physical activity, and raise awareness about the values of the Olympic Movement. The success of the inaugural edition in 2022 has paved the way for an even more impactful and even second edition.
Addressing the IOC membership, Chair Coventry said: “Even three years before the Games, the YOG is impacting thousands of young people in Senegal and building the legacy that the YOG will bring to the local communities.”
In addition to the Dakar en Jeux festival, Dakar 2026 remains focused on several activities aimed at engaging and mobilizing young people in the host nation and beyond.
These include the Brevet Olympique, Civique et Sportif (Olympic, Civic and Sports Certificate) – an education program focused on the Olympic values that was launched in 2023 and aims to reach up to 900,000 children in 11,000 schools by 2026. Students aged from 9 to 15 throughout Senegal will have the opportunity to attend the courses. So far, schools in the Tambacounda, Kolda and Ziguinchor regions have had the opportunity to participate in the programme, with more areas due to be reached in 2024.
The Kids’ Olympic Skills initiative will be launched in 2024 to help promote education and youth engagement through sport, with the nationwide project giving children aged from 6 to 18 the chance to try a range of different sports ahead of the YOG.
The YOG Dakar 2026 will take place from 31 October to 13 November 2026, bringing together the world’s best young athletes. The Games will be held across three host sites (Dakar, Diamniadio and Saly) and aim to serve as a catalyst to transform Senegal through sport, while becoming a blueprint future YOG hosts.