Virtus sanctioned National Open Athletics in Yaoundé, Cameroon

From April 23 to 27, 2024, Yaoundé played host to an event aimed at fostering the development of sports for athletes with intellectual impairment across Africa. This competition marked a significant step forward as Africa strives for the first participation of athletes with intellectual impairment at the Paralympic Games.

Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon were the two countries that participated in this groundbreaking event. Kicking off on April 23, athletes from Equatorial Guinea underwent psychometric tests, setting the stage for two days of thrilling competitions at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Omnisports Stadium in Yaoundé.

The heart of the event revolved around sprint races and short middle-distance races, including the 100m, 200m, and 400m for both men and women, as well as the 800m for women and 1500m for young athletes. Additionally, there were competitions in shot put and long jump for both genders.

In a fantastic atmosphere, athletes showcased their talents, displaying remarkable improvements in their performances. There was a palpable sense of determination in every series, the competition was a testament to the athletes’ dedication and resilience.

“This event’s impact reverberates far beyond Yaoundé. With the dream of seeing sports for the athletes with an intellectual impairment flourish in Africa, we extend our hand to African nations, Virtus leaders, and the International Paralympic Committee. Together, we can make this dream a reality,” said Jean-Marie Aleokol, President of Virtus Cameroon.

Adding to the spectacle, the National Institute of Youth and Sports in Yaoundé brought a special audience to enliven the ceremonies, while captivating choreographies adorned the opening ceremony.

As medals were distributed and champions celebrated, the event underscored the growing importance of sports for athlete with an intellectual disability in Africa. It is a beacon of hope for the future, signalling the possibility of greater participation in the Virtus Global Games and the Paralympic Games.