The next edition of the Indian Ocean Island Games will take place in the Maldives in 2023, according to the organizers.
The choice of the Maldives came at the end of the 10th edition of the games (JIOI Maurice 2019) which took place in Mauritius between July 19 – 28, 2019.
The first edition took place in 1979 and it takes place every 4 years. It pools together island nations and territories of Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros, Madagascar, Mayotte, Réunion and the Maldives.
It is the first time that the Maldives will host the games which have been hosted three times by Mauritius and the Reunion Islands and twice each by Madagascar and Seychelles.
The Maldives is a republic on the Maldive Islands; which achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1965.
Team Mauritius – Soaring hosts
Mauritian athletes gave an outstanding performance at the games clinching top spot on the medals table: they bagged 92 gold medals, 79 silver medals and 53 bronze medals.
Some 2,000 athletes were involved in 14 disciplines including football, volleyball, sailing, weightlifting, boxing, athletics, among others.
Among the Mauritian athletes who shone, were the handicapped. The country this year picked physically challenged athlete as its flag bearer.
Noemi Alphonse,a gold medalist in the 1500m chair race spoke to Africanews: “It’s really a motivation, a source of pride, because I’ve been running in a wheelchair for 4 years, this year I’m a flag bearer.
“… I missed the island games in 2015, it’s my first island games, first island games at home and being protected by the flag is really an honour.”
In preparation for the games, Mauritius invested heavily in the construction and renovation of stadiums. Athletes also had extensive training abroad. But organizing the games was a real challenge.
Stephan Toussaint, Mauritius’ Youth and Sports Minister said: “It is all about logistics that we set up, to support the other 6 islands present in the games including Mauritius.
Asked about other challenges the country faced, he added: “A little bit of everything because there have been several things to do, hosting, technical transport, medical, documentation it has been several years of preparation.”
Yasine Mohabuth, Africanews Correspondent