By Abdoulie Bah, AIPS Young Reporter - Gambia
DAKAR, March 19, 2014 - New strides in African Sports journalism received a fitting boost Wednesday in Dakar in a high-level opening ceremony from the host Sports Minister Mbagnick Ndiaye who highlighted AIPS Africa’s efforts to give the association fresh impetus.
Returning to Dakar for its second consecutive year in a congress which brought together such distinguished administrators as IAAF President Lamine Diack, AIPS president Gianni Merlo, NBA Africa Vice President Amadou Gallo Fall, Several Sports Federations leaders and the hosting President Mitchell Obi, Ndiaye noted that despite the tough economic times and lean resources AIPS managed to put up a befitting congress that underlines its dynamism.
63 delegates from a record 23 countries attended the opening ceremony that took place at the serene deluxe hotel Jardin Savana located along the coastline of the Atlantic ocean.
A remarkable day with the crème de la crème of sports stakeholders .
“Allow me to congratulate you for your dynamism. Despite the weak means and daily problems this association has managed to bring the congress back to Dakar. We acknowledge your strides in giving the association new impetus. The sports press plays an important role in information dissemination – be it the media or the local and international federations. I would like to welcome you warmly on behalf of the president of the republic who gave you an award last year, which is a testament to how much the Senegalese people welcomes you,” said Ndiaye.
In his keynote speech the AIPS President Gianni Merlo highlighted the importance of the media's fight for independence at a time when more and more journalists are prone to corruption. He also gave a spirited speech on the need to save sport and the profession for the youth.
“It is a special occasion for me because it’s the first congress I have e attended in our 90th anniversary, but we are now facing a new challenge – the introduction of the so called new media. Sport is the biggest industry in the world and we have to save sport as it gives hope to the young generation of the world,” Merlo told a packed room of African delegates.
The president of the host association ANPS Momodou Koume also addressed the delegates as he hoped the congress would be a wakeup call. “It is my wish that the 2014 congress will be the one that will reconcile and unite us all so that we speak in the same voice”
Other special guests to speak at the opening ceremony were IAAF president Diack and the NBA Africa’s Vice President who gave a brief on the work of the project which revolves around the development of basketball in the region.