President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Sunday addressed the athletes participating in the upcoming Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG) to be held in Mauritius.
While addressing the athletes during a special ceremony held at the President's Office, President Solih stressed on the immense contribution by sports on youth development. He stated that it is a priority of his administration to provide platforms for Maldivian athletes to reach their maximum potential.
He urged athletes to maintain their best behaviour during the games. He added that each win at the games will be a positive reflection of the country.
Furthermore, the President expressed optimism that the athletes will represent Maldives to the best of their abilities and demonstrate quality sportsmanship.
Speaking of the historical links to IOIG, President Solih reminded that the first-ever international gold medal won by Maldives was 40 years ago at the first IOIG. Maldives was one of the founding member states of IOIG.
He went on to speak of his hopes to host the next IOIG in 2023 in Maldives. The president noted that work is already underway to make this vision a reality, adding that the administration would provide the resources for local athletes to prepare within the next four years.
He revealed that the state is availing international assistance for this, such as sending many volleyball players to Serbia to train under accomplished coaches and experts. He expressed gratitude for the Serbian government's generous help, in making the trainings possible.
In the ceremony, the flag bearer for Maldives was announced to be Ahmed Zabir. President Solih handed him the flag which will be used during the games.
The team presented the President with the official IOIG kit at the ceremony as well.
In this year's IOIG, Maldives will take part in 14 sporting events.