Beautiful frescos celebrating the Morocco of peace and tolerance, symbolizing the diversity of the Kingdom, its artistic and cultural wealth, and representing the colors of the Moroccan flag, the 20 years of reign of King Mohammed VI and the African rooting of Morocco marked the opening ceremony, in addition to dances and choreographies performed by hundreds of children and teenagers around a model of the Hassan Tower erected in the stadium specifically for the show.
The ceremony was punctuated by the usual parade of athletes representing the 53 countries taking part in this high mass of the continental sport.
On the rhythms of “Happy Birthday” and “Welcome Africa”, the singer RedOne, accompanied by several artists, closed in apotheosis the one-hour show marking the kick-off of the African Games.
In a speech on this occasion, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, paid tribute to the efforts made by the Moroccan authorities “to provide these Games with an appropriate framework that reflects, on the one hand, the history of this beautiful nation and on the other hand the permanent concern of HM King Mohammed VI to promote the identity of Africa.”
The 12th African Games, held under the High Patronage of King Mohammed VI, Aug.19 to 31, are unfolding in Rabat, Salé, Temara, Casablanca, Benslimane and El Jadida.
For the first time in their history, the African Games will be a qualification step to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
This important continental event is marked by the participation of more than 6,000 athletes from 53 countries, competing in 26 sports disciplines, 17 of which are qualifying to the Olympic Games of Tokyo 2020.
The African Games feature kayaking, basketball, boxing, chess, football, gymnastics, handball, billiards, snooker and volleyball, in addition to qualifying games for the next Olympic Games, such as athletics, swimming, beach volleyball, weightlifting, cycling, horse riding, and judo.
The African multi-sport contest seeks to advance top-class African Sports and to foster cultural exchanges between the Member States of the African Union. It is held in accordance with the provisions of the Sports Architecture in Africa agreed by the 5th Ordinary Assembly of the Ministers of Sports, convened in 2013 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The organization of African Games draws from the Constitutive Act of the African Union and the Statute of the Africa Sports Council.
This is the first time that the African Games are hosted by Morocco following the country’s readmission to the African Union. The decision to stage the games in the North African country was made following the withdrawal of Equatorial Guinea.