The All-Africa Games

The All Africa Games were conceived by the founder of the modern Olympic Games in the 1920s, but it would be 1965 before the first games were actually held. The first games took place in Congo and more than 2500 athletes from 30 countries participated. United Arab Emirates took the most medals home from those first games in Brazzaville.

The second round of games was canceled due to a military coup in the country it was set to be held in. The next games were held in 1973, in Lagos. After a few false starts before the 1987 All-Africa Games, the games have been held every four years to present day. The 2011 games will be held in September, in Maputo, Mozambique.

Since the first games, Egypt has taken home top medals from the games four times. South Africa won top honors twice. Overall Egypt has won 1079 medals at the Games. Nigeria, South Africa, Algeria and Tunisia round out the rest of the top five overall medal winners. The lowest awarded medal count belongs to Guinea-Bissau, who won a solitary bronze in 1999.

There have been 32 sports played at the Games. This year, 26 are planned for play including football, squash, swimming, badminton, basketball, hockey and boxing. A new addition for this year is chess. Rowing is planned to be held at the Mindolo Dam.

This year, Nigeria has qualified for the games after beating Ghana at football. Egypt and Madagascar have also qualified, and Mozambique was automatically qualified as host country. Qualifications for football, arguably the most popular sport represented at the Games, are still underway.

The buildings for the games have been under construction for more than three years now, since Mozambique was given the honor of hosting the All-Africa Games. Portugal has donated 150 million dollars toward construction of the game village. The Chinese built the stadium for the games. The stadium will hold 42,000 people and is the biggest sports stadium built in Mozambique.

The Young Warriors of Zimbabwe play for their late coach, Fabisch, after losing him to cancer in 2008, and for their earlier losses at the All-Africa Games. They are said to play as a family, and look as strong as the earlier team of 1991.

One remarkable feature of the All-Africa Games is that it incorporates the Paralympic athletes as well. Anita Foudjour won medals for wheelchair track in 2007. Like many other African para-athletes, she was crippled by polio.

The top chess qualifiers for 2011 are Olamide Ajibowo and Nsisong Bassey of Lagos. Chess may seem an unlikely addition to the sports event, but avid fans are eager to see how an African competition will level up to the world stage.

In September 2011 the All-Africa Games will be held in Mozambique. Qualifying trials are presently underway, with athletes in more than 30 countries striving for the honor of representing their nation at the Games this year. The new stadium and athlete’s village promise smooth accommodations for the competitors and attendees alike. Fans and press from around the world will flock to see the Games and record this year’s glorious moments of athleticism.

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