By Nick Butler at the Main Media Centre in Nanjing

The meeting came as athletes from French-speaking African countries fully embrace the Youth Olympic spirit ©ANOCAMore than a dozen Presidents of National Olympic Committees in Africa have attended a meeting here of the Francophone Association of National Olympic Committees (AFCNO).

Held alongside the Summer Youth Olympic Games this week, the meeting marked the latest attempt to protect French identity in the Olympic Movement at a time when it is feared the language is becoming less important.

First set up in 2010, the AFCNO is an attempt to preserve the French language, as well as to focus on the collective development of its members, with the aim of establishing cooperation between nations and institutions.

The meeting, attended by French Olympic Committee and Canadian Olympic Committee Presidents Denis Masseglia and Marcel Aubut, began with welcome speeches and words of unity, calling for a "friendly exchange" of ideas.

"We need to make a habit of finding ourselves," Masseglia said

Among items discussed was the ongoing Olympic Agenda 2020 reform process, with AFCNO members having contributed a collective total of 43 proposals, all of which are currently being debated subject to decisions being made during the International Olympic Committee Sessionm due to take place Monte Carlo on December 8 and 9.

The meeting here followed an AFCNO General Assembly during last September's Francophone Games in Nice, in which a framework agreement was signed, and an exchange programme was set up. 

As reported by Francs Jeux, the meeting also emphasised that AFCNO is seeking to work alongside, rather than against, other international organisations, with this illustrated by the fact the next General Assembly is taking place during the Association of National Olympic Committees General Assembly in Bangkok on November 8.

It can also be assumed the meeting touched upon sporting performances, with no majority French speaking countries - except for France itself, and neighbours Switzerland and Belgium - having won medals so far here in Nanjing.

The next edition of the Francophone Games, to be held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in 2017, was also discussed. 

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