The 2016 Rio Olympics kicked off to a tremendous start on August 5 in Rio da Janeiro in Brazil. It has been estimated that more than 11,000 athletes and 206 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) are taking part. An estimated 40 African Countries (among them South Sudan participating for the first time) are also taking part in the Olympics. For the first time, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) allowed refugees to compete under the Olympic Flag as Independent Olympians.
So far, African countries are performing well in the ongoing competition. The continent has produced several world-class stars and elicited some of the Olympic’s most memorable moments. Among the top performers include South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk; Kenya’s David Lekuta Rudisha and Ethiopia’s Ayana Almaz, among others. Africa has also featured champions who have since changed their nationalities.
Once more, Africans are thinking as one and wish the teams that hail from the continent well. Africa’s leaders should tap into this unity, energy and momentum to galvanize the continent towards noble causes and sustain the momentum. The citizens are willing, but the lop-sided priorities of the leadership are letting them down. The 2016 Rio Olympics should not be used to put issues that are of specific interest to the continent and individual countries to the back burner. May the best teams win!