July 14, 2024
Africa and China fortify friendship and cooperation in the realm of sports
– By Godswill Odiong

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Strengthening the ties of friendship and cooperation between Africa and China in the field of youth and sport was the focus of an important meeting held on Saturday in Hammamet, Tunisia, between the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) (https://AfricaOlympic.com/), chaired by Mustapha Berraf, and a delegation from the Chinese Olympic Committee led by its President, Gao Zhidan, on the sidelines of the Hammamet 2023 African Beach Games.

This meeting was further distinguished by the presence of the President of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), Robin Mitchell, who took the opportunity to highlight the excellent work accomplished by ANOCA, stressing that the report presented to the last meeting of the Executive Committee of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) notes that ANOCA is ranked among the top two continental Olympic associations in terms of promotion of Sport, Olympic Values and Governance, having made good use of Olympic Solidarity funds, and therefore deserves greater representation among IOC members.

President Berraf then declared himself pleased and honoured that the Chinese National Olympic Committee had responded favorably to ANOCA’s invitation, welcoming the already exemplary relations between China and Africa, describing them as “indivisible and bound by ties of sincere and unfailing friendship”.

Mustafa Berraf thanked the President of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), the Secretary General of the Conference of Ministers of Youth and Sport of the Francophonie (CONFEJES), the President of the Ghana Organising Committee for the All-Africa Games for their presence, the President of the Tunisian National Olympic Committee (CNOT) and the Organising Committee for the African Beach Games (COJAP), as well as African members and leaders of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), reminding that the aim of this meeting is to consolidate the foundations of a lasting partnership between China and Africa.

He went on to review the areas to be developed through this partnership:

1. Preparing athletes for upcoming international events, in particular the Olympic Games,

2. Training coaches and managers to improve governance within African National Olympic Committees.

3. Coordination for mutual support during elections,

4. The promotion of Olympic Values, the joint reinforcement of the fight against doping and the fight against global warming,

5. The maintenance and development of sports infrastructures,

6. A joint commitment, in coordination with the IOC, to strict compliance with the rules and principles of the Olympic Charter.

Mr Berraf emphasised that these areas would be the subject of a cooperation agreement to be signed next September in China.

The President of the Chinese Olympic Committee said he was delighted to be among the African Olympic family and expressed his deep gratitude to ANOCA for this invitation.

He expressed his gratitude to the IOC for its support to China during the 2008 Summer Olympic Games and the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Mr ZHIDAN highlighted Africa’s role in the influence of the international Olympic and sports movement, underlining its rich pool of high-performance athletes and its capacity to host the biggest international events, including the Dakar 2026 Youth Olympic Games (YOG). “This opens up the possibility of becoming the centre of the international Olympic Movement,” he said.

The President of the Chinese Olympic Committee also pointed out that the President of the People’s Republic of China attaches great importance to relations with Africa in all areas, and that “it is only logical that I, as President of the Olympic Committee and Minister of Sport in China, should be involved in this process”, noting that there is great potential for cooperation in disciplines such as athletics, swimming and football, which are high-performance areas in Africa, and gymnastics and table tennis, which are the most successful sports in China.

Mr ZHIDAN added that cooperation ties with Africa are characterised by the values of Sincerity, Friendship and Progress, and that these should be strengthened.

Mr James Maleod and Ms Kristy Coventry in turn highlighted the value of partnerships between the various Olympic bodies, welcoming the approach taken by the Chinese Olympic Committee and ANOCA.

Invited to take the floor, Mr Mehrez Boussayene thanked ANOCA for the trust placed in Tunisia to organise the African Beach Games, underlining the honour it was for Tunisia to welcome the African and international Olympic family, including the President of ANOC and the President of the Chinese Olympic Committee.

The meeting also provided an opportunity for fruitful exchanges between those present with a view to strengthening the role of the Olympic movement for a better world.

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