20 Nov 2023

Senegal, the first African host of an Olympic event with the next Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Dakar 2026, hosted a week of celebration of sport and culture during the second edition of the “Dakar en Jeux – Dakar in Games” festival.  A number of sporting disciplines including table tennis took to the stage in the Diamyado suburb to create excitement.

At the heart of this celebration were around 500 schoolchildren from various Dakar schools, eagerly participating in table tennis and other sports activities. The initiative aimed to provide a preview of the upcoming Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2026 to Senegalese and African youth. The organizers, well-aware of the global attention Dakar 2026 will attract, worked diligently alongside the Olympic Committee and its partners to perfect the organization, marking the countdown of 1000 days to go.

With the young pupils touring the sports stands, engaging in the magic of table tennis and other sports that will be showcased in 2026, the palpable energy and activity in the exhibition hall underscored the organizers’ commitment to leave a lasting legacy and create anticipation for what promises to be a magnetizing event.

To ensure optimal preparation for the Youth Olympic Games, a strategic working session is planned with the executive committee of the Senegalese Table Tennis Association. This session will focus on crafting a roadmap to support their development plan, which has been working towards strengthening table tennis in Senegal.

As part of the long-term development of the association, with a particular view towards the 2026 YOG, Senegalese participants travelled to Accra (GHA) in early September to participate in an ITTF-PTT Level 1 Coaching Course and training camp conducted by ITTF Senior Participation Officer Ramzi Mabrouk. The focus of this crucial activity within the framework of the ITTF’s Participation Program was the collaboration between the two associations. With the Ghana Table Tennis Association hosting the activity, it served as a vital preparation for both countries for the upcoming multi-sports events in the region, the 2024 All Africa Games in Accra, and the 2026 Youth Olympic Games in Dakar. 

Two players and two coaches from Senegal joined forces with their Ghanaian counterparts, the synergies evident in the Coaching Seminar on Planning and Programming, where 31 coaches, including six women, actively participated, interacting with the panelists for over four hours.

The Coaching Course featuring a balanced blend of theory and practical training, attracting 28 candidates. Coaches from various regions across Ghana reflected their dedication and passion for table tennis, contributing to a comprehensive learning experience. The subsequent seven-day Training Camp brought together 11 girls and 6 boys from national teams, showcasing their talent, motivation, and enthusiasm for the sport.

In both Senegal and Ghana, these initiatives signify a collective commitment to sports development, youth engagement, and international collaboration. As the countdown to the 2026 YOG in Dakar continues, the enthusiasm for the activities in Dakar and Accra demonstrate the growing appetite for the sport across the African continent. These efforts not only pave the way for successful sporting events but also contribute to the enduring legacy of table tennis in these vibrant nations.


Continuing this drive towards building capacities with a view towards the YOG and beyond, Senegal is gearing up for this week’s ITTF Level 1 Basic Umpire Course, aiming to further expand the pool of match officals and ensuring a lasting legacy of table tennis activity within the country.

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