Start of the 7th edition of the Friendship Games
The 7th edition of the Great Lakes Friendship Games has started today in Bugarama. Program of this first day: installation of the sports fields, arrival of the delegations from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and preparation of the adapted material for the 180 9 to 15 years old coming from the 3 countries.
As the Champion for Peace and ex-captain of the French National Rugby team Jean-François Tordo arrived in Bugarama yesterday with the Olympic medalist and Paris 2024 ambassador Emmeline Ndongue, the final preparations for the 2016 editions of the Games went smoothly today.
This morning, 40 volunteers met at 7.00 a.m. on the field next to Bugarama’s Youth Centre to install all of the sporting equipment for the 9 sports of this year’s program: athletics, baby-foot, basketball (demonstration sport), football, judo, karate, rugby (demonstration sport), table tennis and volleyball. With the help of Jean-François Tordo, the different fields of play were quickly in place and are now ready to welcome the young athletes from the three delegations as well as the big number of spectators expected this weekend.
A few meters away, inside the Youth Centre, other volunteers were active since daylight started: the cooks. With 180 youth and more than 60 volunteers and members of the organization to feed, they prepared huge cooking-pots of local traditional cuisine.
The first delegation to arrive was Congo, with around 15 kids getting out of their bus at 11.00 a.m., glad to discover their dormitories for the next two nights and to meet the local students of the hosting school. The rest of the delegation followed, while the first burundians set foot in Rwanda around 4.00 in the afternoon.
An adapted material workshop will follow as the participants will produce more than 500 #WhiteCards, symbol of peace through sport. These will be given out tomorrow before the Peace Walk, organized in the streets of the city. The competitions will also begin tomorrow morning.
“C’est un bonheur d’être ici, dans un pays où 70% de la population est composée de jeunes qui ont la joie de vivre malgré le fait qu’ils soient dans la difficulté. Je vais organiser une initiation au rugby pour ces jeunes qui n’ont jamais vu de ballon ovale, ça va être un beau défi. C’est une belle aventure qui nous attend pour ces trois prochaines journées” a déclaré le Champion de la Paix Jean-François Tordo.
“I’m very glad to be here, in a country where 70% of the population is composed of youth, always cheerful despite the difficulties they face. I will organize a rugby initiation for these kids who have never seen an oval ball before, it will be a great challenge. This weekend will be a great adventure for all of us” said Jean-François Tordo.