Oran is preparing to host the Mediterranean Games from 25 June. In the days leading up to the opening ceremony, fever grips the big city of western Algeria, which rushes to take care of the final details before the arrival of the athletes who will take part in this 19th edition.
Sunday 19 June. The day is sunny and the temperatures at the start of the Orange summer are as mild as ever. We are located on Khemisti Street, the main artery of the city centre.
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It’s 11 a.m., traffic is still smooth, and stores are starting to open their curtains. Younes has just opened his optical store. When asked what he thinks of the Mediterranean Games, here is his answer: Ah, you’re just in time, because I can’t buy a ticket on the Games Organizing Committee website. The online ticket booking system for the Olympic Complex is not yet operational. “He’s impatient.
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Younes is eager to attend the opening ceremony of the new Olympic complex, located in Belgaide, about fifteen kilometers east of the city.
It’s a countdown. Only a few days remain before the flames of the Mediterranean are lit in El Bahia, four years after the Games in Tarragona, Spain.
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This 19th competition, which will run from June 25 to July 6, is expected to be attended by 3,434 athletes from 26 countries. ” After the WJ Algiers in 1975, Oran is so eager to organize these Games because it allows him to be in the spotlight around the entire circumference of the Mediterranean basin for ten days and attracts many tourists. says Salima, manager of the women’s volleyball club in the seaside resort of Ain El Turk.
Great victory for El Bahia
Oran began work on his candidacy ten years ago. The authorities have prepared a good file.
The decision of the International Committee for the Mediterranean Games (CIJM) to choose Oran as the host city was taken seven years before the event, in order to allow the capital of western Algeria to do all the work needed to host such an important competition.
The organization required time, labor and a lot of money. For the host city of Oran, the organization of the Games is an ambitious and very expensive undertaking. And inevitably, the cost is much higher than expected. Algeria went all out.
As a candidate city, Oran has proposed very ambitious projects to win its CIJM candidacy. Projects that have been under-budgeted. A 13 billion DA budget expansion has just been mobilized to pay the final bills associated with endless construction sites.
” Game attribution has already been a big win for Oran and the country. At first, a lot of effort was put into getting the award for these games. Then these games require a gigantic upstream organization that wanted to be on top. The hardest part began as soon as this appointment was announced. Our sports facilities were a bit old or inadequate. Therefore, they had to either repair them or build new ones. It was also necessary to build the Olympic Complex, the Mediterranean Village and many other infrastructure facilities. In a word, all this required excellent organization. says an official from the local youth and sports department.
” The implications for the host territory of Oran are real, especially with the increased organizational demands of the International Committee for the Mediterranean Games. These multiple organizational commitments force the responsible authorities to plan these city projects long term to try and transform them after the Games. The billions of dinars needed to organize the games make this international sporting event an extremely complex and costly urban project, but with a strong impact on the urban fabric. “, emphasizes Mr. Merani, lecturer in economics at the University of Oran.
” Hosting this sporting event on Oran soil is a great opportunity that goes far beyond the sports sector. It is also economical and gives an excellent image to Algeria, which has been able to cope with the difficulties. ”, analyzes this academician.
Important work was also carried out to improve the city. A city architect who worked on a development in Belgaide believes that ” In terms of structural and urban planning, hosting the Games means both following the vision, the symbolic approach to the spatiality of the city, and providing it with huge economic opportunities. “.
This city planner believes that ” Urban projects associated with the Mediterranean Games respond to strategic choices, as the scale of intervention in the city has a positive impact on the urban structure. “.
Rich historical and cultural heritage
The sports infrastructure is ready for events to be held at 22 venues. Some infrastructure facilities have been refurbished, such as the Hamou Boutlelis Gym, the Palmiers Tennis Court, the equestrian center and ” beavers “.
A new sports center was built in Sige, under the Mascara Governorate, with a budget of over 2 billion DA. On an area of 11 hectares, there is a beautiful football stadium, a sports hall, which will host handball, volleyball and basketball matches, an Olympic swimming pool, a pond and an athletics stadium.
An extensive Mediterranean village has been erected in Oran and a few kilometers from the Belgide Olympic complex. The high standard base designed for athletes and officials can accommodate over 4,000 people. The village has 3 stadiums, 5 gyms for training, a clinic, restaurants, a transport hub, banking and postal services, a medical center, four recreation areas and a theater.
Apart from sports, Oran will also showcase its many assets to delight the national and international athletes and tourists who flock to these games.
The large city in the west of Algeria relies in particular on the richness of its historical and cultural heritage, as well as its music scenes. Oran is primarily the capital of Rai. Hasni Chekroune Green Theater will host national festivals of Oran song and song of rai. Street theater will also be on the menu. During these games, Oran will also host the 22nd European Cultural Festival from 23 June to 1 July. Finally, the Ahmed Zaban National Public Museum will host an exhibition of prehistory and anthropology.