The Rainy Med-Saharan Makes a Splash on the International Scene
The Med Saharan Challenge is the first and largest multidisciplinary sporting tournament on the African continent. The Challenge first took place in 2014 and has since become a yearly event. Hosted on Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane’s (AUI) campus and organized by AUI students, faculty, and staff, the Challenge features a large array of sports, including football, futsal, basketball, volleyball, natation, tennis, table tennis, and track.
This year—from April 13th through the 15th—AUI had the pleasure of welcoming eleven universities—ESIG Casa, Universiapolis Agadir, ENSA TANGER, AUI, Université Internationale de Rabat (UIR), Université Internationale de Casablanca (UIC), HEM Fès, ENCG TANGER, Cité Internationale de Rabat, University of Konstanz, and Juraj Dobrila University of Pula—with students from across four continents. Though the student-athletes varied in nationality, they were brought together by their mutual love of sports and a desire to get to learn about people from around the globe. Since its inception, this has become a large aspect of the Med Saharan Challenge—it has become an opportunity for young people from across the world to engage in intercultural exchanges and forge lifelong friendships.
The Challenge included a variety of social events that enabled the student-athletes to spend time together off the field. The most successful of these was “Chaabi Night”, which offered the student-athletes the chance to get together and blow off some steam by dancing to traditional Moroccan pop. Similarly, on the Challenge’s final day, AUI organizers invited all the teams back to the football field where they were sat together in mirth to chat and enjoy some homemade barbecue prepared for them by the University.
The AUI teams excelled on the field, taking home the gold in Women’s Basketball, Women’s Volleyball, and both 100 and 200 meter dashes.
Despite some minor setback in terms of the weather, many organizers—students, faculty, and staff alike—agree that the event was an overwhelming success.