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By Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)

ABUJA, Nigeria, May 9, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Second ECOWAS Under-23 Games earlier scheduled for 2nd to 8th June 2012 in Accra, Ghana, will now take place from 16th to 22nd June 2012 due to logistics reasons.

The new dates were agreed during a courtesy call by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Gender, Dr. Adrienne Diop on Ghana's Minister of Youth and Sports, Honourable Clement Kofi Humado, in his office on Friday, 4th May 2012.

The Minister expressed Ghana's appreciation to ECOWAS for accepting the new dates and acknowledged the country's commitment to a successful hosting of the biennial sporting competition in athletics, handball, volleyball, traditional wrestling and boxing, which will be featuring for the first time.

On her part, Dr. Diop expressed confidence on Ghana's ability to host the Games, noting that this would contribute to the attainment of regional integration objectives.

She assured the minister of ECOWAS' readiness to assist Ghana host a successful Games.

The Commissioner's visit took place during a three-day meeting of the Games' Monitoring and Supervisory Committee which began on Wednesday, 3rd May 2012.

The Committee comprises, among others, the presidents of the West African Federations of the five sports featuring in the Games, representatives of the ECOWAS Commission and the Ouagadougou-based ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre which is coordinating the Games on behalf of the Commission.

At the opening of the meeting, Ghana's Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, briefed members of the Committee on the status of preparations, challenges and support needed to ensure a hitch-free Games.

He also proposed a shift in the Games calendar for the consideration of the Committee.

In his remarks, the Director of the ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre, Mr. Francis Chuks Njoaguani, promised that the request for date change would be conveyed to the appropriate authorities of the Commission.

He also reaffirmed the confidence in Ghana's determination and ability to organize the Games successfully, adding that ECOWAS was impressed with the country's commitment.

Members of the Committee later undertook an inspection tour of the facilities and discussed other issues related to Ghana's readiness for the Games, especially in terms of meeting international standards.

Nigeria hosted the inaugural edition of the Under-23 regional Games in 2010 with competitions in four sports - athletics, handball, volleyball and traditional wrestling.

The Games are expected to promote and enhance sports as a means of uniting and encouraging the youth in West Africa to progress through balanced development.

The competition also provides a forum for interaction among West African youths, strengthens sporting and economic ties between Member States and promotes a sense of belonging among participants.

In addition, this year's Games would serve as a good platform for West African sports men and women to prepare for the London Olympic Games taking place later in the year.

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