South Sudan’s Olympic governing body said on Saturday it is working on an initiative that seeks to upgrade sports infrastructure and develop young athletes in a bid to improve performance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Juma Stephen Lugga, President of the South Sudan National Olympic Committee (SSNOC) said they have developed a three-year strategic plan for the development of sports infrastructure and nurture athlete’s talent as the conflict- torn East African nation seek to surpass their debutant performance at the Rio 2016 Games.
Lugga said the SSNOC would engage on capacity building of young athletes and also build a modern Olympic village in South Sudan for teams and individual athletes.
“Sports have no boundary. It is a catalyst to unite our youth at this crucial time in our history. We are looking forward to engage our youth in all Olympic gatherings,” Lugga said.
South Sudan became the 206th member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in August 2015.
The world’s youngest nation made its first ever Olympic appearance at the Rio 2016 Games represented by three athletes.
The conflict-torn country on Saturday marked the Olympic Day Celebrations by officially raising the IOC flag at its new Olympic offices in the capital, Juba.
“This is a historical day for South Sudan to learn by. Let us start preparing for 2020. We have a year to do and I think we can do it,” First Vice President Taban Deng Gai said after hoisting the IOC flag.
David Shearer, head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), said the Olympic Games provides a unique opportunity for the people of South Sudan to come together, end their differences and rebuild their country after more than four years of civil war and ethnic polarization.
“As we celebrate the international Olympic day, I encourage all parties to the conflict and indeed the citizens of South Sudan to emulate the spirit of this occasion to integrate freely and put aside their differences for the good of all South Sudanese for the same peace, mutual respect and development of the country,” said Jerome Biswaro, the African Union (AU) Representative in South Sudan.