By Gary Anderson

ANOCA President Lassana Palenfo (left) and Algerian NOC President Moustapha Berraf sign African Youth Games hosting agreement ©ANOCAA special signing ceremony has taken place in Gaborone, Botswana confirming Algiers' commitment to hosting the third edition of the African Youth Games in 2018.

Algiers was awarded the Games in March and confirmation was sealed today at a special dinner in the Gaborone Sun Hotel during the second edition of the Games currently taking place in the Botswanan capital.

Algerian National Olympic Committee President Moustapha Berraf signed the hosting agreement on behalf of Algerian Minister for Sport, Professor Mohammed Tahmi, with President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) and Honorary International Olympic Committee member, Lassana Palenfo also present.

The special dinner saw guests treated to Algerian cuisine and a performance by Algerian singing star Shakira.

Algiers 2018 will be the third edition of the quad-annual Games, following the maiden event held in Rabat, Morocco, in July 2010, while this year's event began on May 22 and is scheduled to conclude on Saturday (May 31).

Algerian popstar Shakira entertains guests at the Gaborone Sun Hotel ©ANOCAAlgerian popstar Shakira entertains guests at the Gaborone Sun Hotel ©ANOCA

Around 2,500 athletes from 54 countries are taking part in this year's Games across 21 sports and the event in four year's time is expected to be on a similar scale.

Like in Rabat and Gaborone, the Games in Algiers will also feature an education and cultural programme, which seeks to promote the arts and culture of the host country and Africa as a whole.

Previously, Algeria has hosted other major sporting events, including the 1978 and 2007 editions of the All-African Games, the 1975 Mediterranean Games and the 1990 African Cup of Nations football tournament, which was also won by the host country.

The awarding of the 2018 African Youth Games came following an inspection tour of several scheduled possible venues by a high-level ANOCA delegation to Algiers on March 18.

Among the sports facilities they inspected were the local suburbs of Souidania, Koléa and Cheraga, as well as the Mohamed-Boudiaf Olympic Complex and the Ouled Fayet Students' Hostel, where athletes will be lodged during the Games.

Speaking following the signing of the hosting agreement, Berraf praised officials in Botswana for their hosting of the current Games and promised that organisers for 2018 will strive to deliver a memorable event.

Algerian National Olympic Committee President Moustapha Berraf (right) has promised ANOCA President Lassana Palenfo that the 2018 Games will be a memorable event ©ANOCAAlgerian National Olympic Committee President Moustapha Berraf (right) has promised ANOCA President Lassana Palenfo that the 2018 Games will be a memorable event ©ANOCA

"I wish, on behalf of the Algeria Olympic and sports Movement and our Minister of Sports [Mohammed Tahmi], who could not be with us owing to his tight schedule, to heartily thank President Lassana Palenfo, the ANOCA Executive Committee, as well as my brothers and sisters of the Olympic and sporting Movement who have, once more, demonstrated their confidence by entrusting us with the hosting of the third African Youth Games, which will take place in Algiers in 2018," said Berraf.

"I thus wish to reassure them and to say, as is our wont, that Algeria will leave no stone unturned to give them a most befitting welcome and add a new dimension to these Games."

Aimed at athletes aged 14 to 18, the African Youth Games tries to offer athletes a platform to prepare for the Olympic Games; contribute to the development of sport; foster Olympic values on the continent; and professionalise the organisation of sports competitions in the continent.

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