Team Seychelles gears up for 9th Francophone Games in Kinshasa
The flag bearer for Team Seychelles is athlete Dylan Sicobo (left). (Seychelles Nation)
Team Seychelles going to the 9th Francophone Games in the Democratic Republic of Congo was given its official send-off in a small ceremony on Thursday afternoon at L'Escale Resort Marina and Spa on Mahe.
The Games are scheduled to take place in Kinshasa from July 28 to August 6, and Seychelles has 16 athletes, as well as a group of artists and officials, making up a delegation of 35.
The flag bearer for Team Seychelles is athlete Dylan Sicobo, who won the gold medal in the 100 metres at the Games being held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in 2017. Sicobo also set a new national record of 10.33 seconds.
Sicobo is also part of the Seychelles 4x100m relay team, which won bronze at the same games with a time of 40.31 seconds.
At the Games in Ivory Coast, high jumper Lissa Labiche, who is no longer part of the team, also won a gold medal with a height of 1.91 metres.
The chief executive of the National Sports Council (NSC), Marc Arrisol, said that Seychelles has always done well in this competition in the past.
"Seychelles won 12 medals, six gold, three silver and three bronze. Our biggest achievement was at the Games in Ivory Coast with two gold medals and one bronze medal. Our expectation is high and we hope that our athletes are motivated to defend their titles," he said.
During the ceremony, the uniforms that will be worn by the official delegation were also unveiled.
|The uniforms that will be worn by the official delegation. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY|
In her address, the Minister for Family Affairs, Youth and Culture, Marie-Celine Zialor, emphasised the importance of having Seychellois athletes participating in these types of games and using them as an impetus to push towards seeking gold medals at the Olympics.
"Going to these types of games in countries with large stadiums filled with fans, will give our athletes the exposure needed to help them move towards greater results on the bigger stages," said Zialor.
She also spoke of the need for athletes as well as the artists and officials, to use these opportunities to get in touch with people and organisations from the Francophone world, that can be of benefit to themselves and the athletes.
"We are not making enough effort to be more exposed to the opportunities present in the francophone world where there are a lot of opportunities from which we can benefit, in terms of sports, culture and even in French music," added Zialor.
Alain Alcindor, director for competitive sports in the National Sports Council (NSC) said that this event "will be a great opportunity for our athletes to measure themselves with other high-level athletes just before the Indian Ocean Islands Games."
Moncton and Dieppe, New Brunswick, Canada, were originally awarded the Games in April 2016 but on January 30, 2019, the New Brunswick government cancelled its commitment to host the games due to funding issues.
The International Francophone Organisation issued a new call on 1 March 2019 and the Democratic Republic of Congo won the bid in July 2019.
The Games, which were scheduled for 2021 to 2022, to avoid clashing with the delayed 2020 Summer Olympics, which was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was again postponed to 2023.
Created in 1989, the Francophone Games take place every four years. Competitors and performers between the ages of 18 to 35 from French-speaking nations compete and display their talent with more than 3,000 participants in the areas of art, culture and sport.