Francophonie Games postponed to 2022 | 15 May 2020
The ninth Jeux de la Francophonie has been postponed from July 2021 to the summer of 2022 as the actual dates coincide with the rescheduled Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Principal secretary for youth and sports, Fabian Palmyre, confirmed to Sports NATION that they have received an official letter from the host country regarding the postponement of these games as precedence has been given to the Olympic Games which were cancelled this summer due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic across the world.
The Olympic Games are now set to take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021 whereas the Jeux de la Francophonie was supposed to take place from July 23 to August 1, 2021 in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This is a further setback that has marred the ninth Jeux de la Francophonie which brings together athletes and artists from 54 countries. Held for the first time in Morocco in 1989, the ninth Jeux de la Francophonie encountered difficulties after a number of potential host cities renounced its hosting.
The ninth Jeux de la Francophonie was initially scheduled to be hosted by the town of New Brunswick in Canada which pulled out of its organisation in January 2019 and the town of Sherbrook in the province of Québec as well as Nantes in France were being lined up to take over. Even our Indian Ocean neighbour Mauritius was being regarded as a possible host after it constructed the sports complex in Côte d’Or for the 10th Indian Ocean Islands Games last year. But all these cities decided to pull out due to financial constraints and a lack of a games village in the case of Mauritius.
As a result, the Democratic Republic of Congo stepped in to save the future of the Jeux de la Francophonie which was last hosted by another African country, namely Côte d’Ivoire (in Abidjan) in 2017 with its fair share of hiccups though our sportsmen especially in the sport of athletics excelled with sprinter Dylan Sicobo stunning the field to win the 100-metre race gold medal in a time of 10.33 seconds to match his new Seychelles record time he had pulverised in the semifinals, while high jumper Lissa Labiche showed her class by clearing the bar at 1.91m to equalise the Games’ record and win the gold medal to illustrate Seychelles’ potential in track & field athletics.
The Seychelles men’s 4x100m relay team of Dylan Sicobo, Sharry Dodin, Ned Azemia and Leeroy Henriette won the bronze medal in a new Seychelles record of 40.31 seconds.
However, with another delay in these games which brings together French speaking countries, it is a major concern for the future of the Jeux de la Francophonie more so in view of the economic recession which is affecting every country in this post coronavirus pandemic where participation in these games will not be a priority.
For this ninth Jeux de la Francophonie, eight sports disciplines were being proposed – athletics (male and female, 18 to 35 years old), basketball (female, 18 to 25 years old), football (male, under 20 years old), wrestling (male and female, 18 to 30 years old), table tennis (male and female, 18 to 21 years old), judo (male and female, 18 to 25 years old), Special Olympian (handisports, male and female, 18 to 35 years old), and cycling (male, 19 to 25 years old and female, 19 to 35 years old). But with the postponement decided by the Congolese government and made known to the secretary general of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, Louisa Mushikiwabo, no dates for the games in 2022 have been fixed.