AAG kicks off in Brazzaville

05 Sep 2015 11:20am
By Hesron Kapanga
KINTELE, 05 SEP (NAMPA) – The 11th edition of the All Africa Games (AAG) was officially opened by Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou-Nguesso at the Kintele Sports Complex outside the city of Brazzaville on Friday evening.
Fifty-four countries are participating in this edition of the games that take place from 04 to 19 September 2015. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the games as well as its return to Brazzaville, which hosted the first edition in 1965.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma urged athletes to respect one another throughout the championships.
“We are all Africans and we should compete in these games fairly while respecting one another as brothers and sisters. I also call on you to network with other athletes, as this is what our leaders who fought for Africa’s liberation would like you to do.
“I would also like to thank Congo for hosting all the African countries in this beautiful country of theirs. I wish all the athletes luck in the competition and may the best country win,” said Dlamini Zuma
About 8 000 athletes will compete in 20 sports codes, including track and field as well as swimming for athletes with disabilities.
There will also be two demonstration events: The combat sport of pharaoh boxing and nzango, where two teams line up facing each other and perform rigorous dance routines that are judged by referees. This dance sport is a favourite among Congolese women.
Namibia is represented by 79 athletes and 48 officials at the AAG. They will participate in athletics, boxing, cycling, karate, swimming, tennis, table tennis, gymnastics, and sports for the disabled.
Namibia’s boxers and gymnasts are expected to start competing on Saturday.
Team Namibia returned with seven medals - one gold, one silver and five bronze - from the 2011 AAG held in Maputo.