Sports is a universal language: it crosses borders, cultures and civilizations. It offers the possibility for each individual to give the best of oneself.
When it serves the interests of the people, sports are also a vector of peace and tolerance. Like any citizen wishing to live in a serene world, I am deeply attached to these principles.
As a great supporter of sports (and practitioner when I can), I would like to pay tribute to the sportsmen of our country, who thrill us and make us proud during the great international events. They are the representatives of this universal language!
Senegalese excellence beyond the country’s borders
The 2022 Winter Olympic Games have just ended in Beijing, China. It is the perfect opportunity to remember and list the achievements of our Senegalese athletes throughout history.
The first of these champions is the alpine skier Lamine-Guèye. This great competitor, born in Dakar, was the first athlete from sub-Saharan Africa to participate in Winter Olympics. The first time was in Sarajevo (1994). A few years later, he was also present at the Winter Olympics in Albertville (1992) and Lillehammer (1994).
Next up, one will never forget the exploits achieved by Mamadou Dia Ba, our youngest athlete ever to compete. This top level athlete, also from Dakar, participated in three consecutive Olympics, from 1984 to 1992.
In 1998 (Seoul), he managed to place between the American champions Andre Phillips and Edwin Moses, collecting the silver medal in the 400m hurdles. It was a proud moment for our country!
During its Olympic history, Senegal has offered other emblematic records: how can one forget, for example, the feats achieved by the Dakar swimmer Malick Fall? He participated in four Olympics between 2000 and 2012. During his career, our champion won 8 bronze medals, 6 silver medals and 5 gold medals! Many still remember that he was our flag bearer in the Senegalese delegation to the 2004 Summer Olympics. He is truly an exemplary and laudable Senegalese champion!
With the Youth Olympic Games approaching, I see a new opportunity for our talents to shine. Our capital will be the first to host this Olympic event on the African continent, starting in 2026.
Our country needs this event more than ever, as it brings hope and new opportunities to our young citizens.
Soccer, a true passion celebrated by the victory of our Lions during the CAN
Like many of our fellow citizens, I have always been a soccer fan. I love the fervor of the public, and the competitive spirit that drives this collective sport. I am therefore, fully committed to the victory of our national team. Recently, during the CAN, the Lions did us the greatest honor by winning the first African Cup of Nations in its history. It is this pioneering and conquering spirit that I wish to wholeheartedly promote. To have had the chance to approach this cup so closely, alongside our President, was a great privilege for me, tinged with immense joy.
During this exceptional event in the history of Senegalese soccer, I insisted on paying a tribute to our captain, Kalidou Koulibaly and all the players. Each of them displayed an unwavering determination, which led our country to the ultimate victory.
In the end, I see high-level athletes as entrepreneurs. They know how to show self-sacrifice, dedication and effort to reach their goal. They know how to take risks to succeed!
Today, the Senegalese State wishes to equip itself with sports infrastructures that are equal to its recent successes. I fully support this initiative, which has led to the construction of a stadium that meets the latest international standards. The Abdoulaye Wade Stadium, located about 30 km east of Dakar, will be able to accommodate nearly 50,000 people.
Our country now has all the assets to become one of the best sporting nations in the world, as well as an inevitable destination on African soil. Sports, in particular, must allow us to consolidate our country’s vital forces. Our successes in this area will provide the impetus for the structural and economic development that our nation needs. Indeed, whatever the sport discipline, the media coverage of victories generates licensees. Among these licensees are the athletes of tomorrow. These new champions will attract sponsors, partnerships, and new infrastructures. They will directly or indirectly generate value. This is how the virtuous circle between sport, structural development and economic growth is born.
By 2030, according to the National Agency for Statistics and Demography (ANSD), Senegal’s population is expected to reach 25 million. With a median age estimated at 20.2 years, thanks to our champions, and to the investments made by our government,
I have every reason to believe that the Senegalese flag will fly often and proudly for a long time at the top of the podiums during the upcoming international sporting events.
For those of you, who are young entrepreneurs in the sports field or any other sector, I want to assure you of my support. I will stand by your side to accompany your projects.