Part two of IOC President Thomas Bach’s visit to North Africa: Algeria. A visit in which athletes played a major role. Algeria plans to send a team of 70 athletes to the Olympic Games Rio 2016, twice as many as for the Games in London. Of these, 46 are already qualified, evidence of the exemplary work done by the Algerian National Olympic Committee (NOC) under the leadership of its energetic President, Mustapha Berraf.
The NOC has developed a strategic plan with a view to effectively implementing the recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020. The IOC President praised the efforts made to roll out concrete projects, such as identifying and training talented young athletes; developing an Olympic schools programme; and the systematic inclusion of women in the NOC’s decision-making meetings.
The NOC has also declared 2016 as its year of women’s advancement through sport. In this framework, a hard-hitting advertisement to raise awareness of violence against women has been created with the participation of athletes, and this is currently being broadcast on national television.
“The NOC’s work could not take place without excellent cooperation with the government,” President Bach declared. “The Algerian NOC has struck exactly the right balance, respecting the sovereignty of the state, which for its part respects the autonomy of sport,” he added.
This fruitful cooperation and mutual respect were discussed when the President met Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal. The Prime Minister assured the IOC of his government’s support by providing the means needed to develop sports facilities in the country (13,000 projects have been started over the last 10 years), and by ensuring that sport has a key position in the school curriculum. The two men also spoke at length about the primordial role of sport in education and promoting the values of respect and fair play among young people.
Another symbolic moment of the President’s visit was the laying of the first stone of the Olympic Academy and Museum in Algiers.
During his visit, President Bach was accompanied by IOC Honorary Member and ANOCA President General Lassana Palenfo; IOC Honorary Member in Algeria Mustapha Larfaoui; and Algerian Olympic medallists.
The delegation visited the Olympic preparation centre in Souidania, which for the past year has been hosting the country’s elite athletes, and has recently opened a fencing training room. The President also visited the Sidi Moussa National Technical Football Centre, where the Algerian football team who recently qualified for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 do their training.