(ATR) IOC President Thomas Bach announced on Wednesday that the Youth Olympic Games scheduled for Dakar, Senegal in 2022 have been delayed by four years.
The first Olympic event on the African continent will now be held in 2026.
The IOC Executive Board approved the agreement during an online meeting on Wednesday. It will be submitted to the full IOC Session on Friday for ratification.
The postponement was proposed by Senegal President Macky Sall during a phone call with Bach on Monday.
Bach told 120 reporters during an online press conference following the EB meeting that the postponement of Tokyo 2020 and other major international sporting events due to the coronavirus pandemic had left the Olympic Movement with serious operational, logistical and financial consequences.
"If these Youth Olympic Games would have been held in 2022, this would have meant that for the IOC, the IFs, the NOCs, that we would have had to master five Games in just three years and this really was a too heavy workload for everybody.
"At the same time, it allows Senegal to carry on the excellent preparations for the Youth Olympic Games in a smooth way."
With Dakar moved to 2026, the four Games still on the docket through 2024 are Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022, the Winter YOG in Gangwon, South Korea in 2024 and Paris 2024.
The four-year delay in holding the next Summer YOG means that the athletes who will be eligible to compete in 2026 are currently as young as eight years old and as old as 12. None of the athletes who could have competed in 2022 will still be within the age range of 15-18 by 2026.
Bach says that the IOC understands "that for a number of athletes this decision will be disappointing," Bach says.
"We can only appeal to their understanding because it reflects the challenges we are facing in the Olympic Movement and beyond" in the wake of the Tokyo 2020 postponement.
Financial Aid Update
Bach also gave an update on the financial support the IOC is giving to the Olympic Movement.
"Since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis the IOC has already provided $100 million in financial support to NOCs and IFs; $63 million has been allocated to IFs and $37 million to NOCs.
"The EB in addition to this has also confirmed that despite the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 that we will continue supporting the NOCs with the TOP program allocation which will amount to another $150 million which will be payable by the end of the year."
Bach says that up to $300 million of the IOC's $800 million financial aid "envelope" to Tokyo 2020 and the Olympic Movement will be coming from the Olympic Foundation.
Written by Gerard Farek
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