Lesotho has suffered a low blow after it was striped off the rights to host the 2022 Association of the National Olympic Committees (ANOCA) African Youth Games.
ANOCA has resolved to move the games to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
The games were initially penned for 25 February to 6 March 2022 but Lesotho will now only host the 2026 edition.
During its executive committee’s extra ordinary session on 29 September, ANOCA made the decision to change the initial host country for the games.
In a letter to the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC), ANOCA indicated that the decision was made after extensive consultations with the representatives of the LNOC, the Lesotho government and the Maseru 2020 Local Organising Committee (LOC).
The Ethiopian government and the Ethiopian Olympic Committee are said to have already agreed and undertaken to host the games.
“A team will be sent to Addis Ababa to inspect all the key elements required for a successful hosting of the games and a full briefing will be given during an extra ordinary session of the general assembly in December 2020,” ANOCA said.
At first Ugandan and Nigerian NOCs had shown interest to host the games but have since been part of the countries that supported Ethiopia.
ANOCA’s second vice president and also LNOC president, ‘Matlohang Moiloa Ramoqopo confirmed the developments saying that the decision was reached after Lesotho said it was experiencing challenges in fully preparing for the games.
“We had a meeting with ANOCA where we explained that due to the current situation brought by Covid-19, our procedures and plans had been disrupted. There would have been a lot to do before things could go back to normal in order to prepare for the games.
“Preparing for such games during a pandemic would mean we needed an additional budget to adhere to the set health protocols and regulations, that budget is what we do not have,” she added.
Lesotho was confirmed the hosts of the 2022 Games during ANOCA’s extraordinary general assembly held prior to the African Youth Games in Algeria 2018. The 2022 edition would have been Lesotho’s first time to host such games.