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Dakar will host a fantastic Youth Olympics

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Mr Konietzko met YOG organising committee coordinator-general, Ibrahima Wade, and Ministry of Sport Secretary General, Paul Dionne, to discuss progress ahead of the Games in Senegal in 2026.

The group also inspected the water sport venue at Saly, on the outskirts of Dakar, where canoeing will join rowing, sailing, beach handball and several other sports for the Youth Olympics.

“The venue is a really unique place, one which I’m sure will prove a great showcase for canoeing and other water sports in 2026,” Mr Konietzko said.

“I am really impressed with the vision of the organisers, and their plans to use the same facilities for several sports. It opens up lots of possibilities and I think will provide a blueprint for future event organisers.”

Canoeing has been part of the Youth Olympic Games program since the event’s inception in Singapore in 2010. The event, for paddlers aged between 15 and 18, is a hybrid competition combining canoe sprint, canoe slalom and kayak cross skills.

The venue in Dakar will provide opportunities to further modify the canoe competition and the types of boats that will be used.

“The YOG is designed to allow sports to be innovative and to modify their competitions to provide challenges to the athletes, while also attracting new fans globally,” Mr Konietzko said.

“As we have shown at previous YOGs, we are not afraid to make changes. Our goal is to make the canoeing events one of the most exciting on the 2026 Dakar program.

“And ultimately our goal is to leave a canoe legacy in this great city and country. We are confident with our ongoing support, long after the YOG, Senegal will become a strong Olympic contender.”

Senegal will be the first country on the African continent to host an Olympic sports event. Originally the event was set down for 2022, but was postponed to 2026 because of the global Covid pandemic.

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