Building on the successes and failures of Buenos Aires 2018, the IOC has revamped the sport program for Dakar 2022.
“The Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2022 will be the first Olympic event on the African continent which is historic for Senegal and historic for the continent of Africa. The agreed athlete competition is youthful and completely gender-balanced and shows that the IOC continues to develop the Youth Olympic Games that will feature over 4500 athletes from all NOCs.”, said IOC President Thomas Bach. (Source: IOC)
Indeed the program is gender balanced, with quotas being equally distributed between male and female athletes. The program also appeals to what the IOC and greater international sports community see as “youthful” sports. Joining the 28 Olympic core sports are Breaking, Karate, Skateboarding, Sport Climbing, and Surfing. Notably, all the sports proposed by the Paris 2024 organizing committee for inclusion in the 2024 Summer Olympics have been added to the games in Dakar as well.
Beach Wrestling, Canoe Ocean Racing, and Bouldering (as an independent discipline) seem set to make their first Olympic appearance. Field Hockey will also retain its 5s format, while Futsal will stay in place of football.
The events within the sports themselves have seen some changes too. Instead of some silly, shortened, or downright made up events, the games will see events that actually mirror events on the Olympic program, but that have been slightly adapted to fit the needs of youth athletes. For instance, Road Cycling will now be held in its Olympic format, but with shortened distances.
Many sports will also see their quotas increased thanks to the “two-waves” system that is being instituted for the first time at the summer youth games, after it was put in place for the upcoming 2020 Winter Youth Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland. Essentially it means athletes will come in two “waves” to the games. One wave of athletes will call the Youth Olympic Village home during the first half of the games, while the second wave will call the village home during the second half of the games. According to the IOC, it helps reduce the costs placed on the organizers, and allows for greater athlete participation.
Overall the 4th edition of the Summer Youth Olympics will see major changes yet again. One could even say the games are growing like the youth themselves. Dakar 2022 will feature more than 4,500 athletes under the age of 19, competing in 33 sports, and 239 events.
PDF version of sports program: https://www.olympic.org/-/media/Document%20Library/OlympicOrg/News/2019/12/YOG-Dakar-2022-Event-Programme.pdf