South African Commonwealth bid officials head to London
Feb. 25, 2015
STELLENBOSCH, South Africa (AP) — Bid officials from Durban will present their plans for the 2022 Commonwealth Games on Monday. The South African city is set to be the first African host.
Durban, a possible future Olympic bidder, is the only candidate for 2022 after Edmonton withdrew this month citing financial difficulties caused by falling oil prices.
South African officials, including the minister of sport and the chief executive of the Olympic committee, will make a 20-minute presentation to the Commonwealth Games Federation executive committee in London on Monday, the deadline for the lodging of bids.
The 2022 host will be announced at the CGF General Assembly in New Zealand in September.
The CGF has called the bid by Durban, a city with balmy, tropical weather on South Africa's east coast, "an historic and special moment for the Commonwealth sporting movement."
South African officials say they still have to follow due process with their bid, despite it being the only one.
"The CGF will still have to make an assessment of our bid book which will subsequently lead to site visits of the facilities in Durban," bid committee and South African Olympic committee chief executive Tubby Reddy said in a statement on Wednesday.
Durban's games will be centered on Moses Mabhida Stadium, built for the 2010 soccer World Cup.
Durban's Commonwealth Games has complicated a possible South African Olympic bid.
Durban was widely touted as an Olympic contender five years ago after South Africa's widely praised hosting of the World Cup, but the government backed down on a bid for the 2020 Summer Games.
South African Olympic officials say the country is still considering a bid for the 2024 or 2028 Games, but there has been no government commitment and the Commonwealth Games is now the priority.
The International Olympic Committee's reforms which allow a country to spread an Olympics across more than one host city, could help South Africa host the biggest sports event on the planet. South Africa could consider splitting an Olympics between the picturesque seaside city of Durban and the economic hub of Johannesburg, the country's biggest city.
The deadline for cities to inform the IOC of their intention to bid for the 2024 Olympics is Sept. 15.
Durban bid committee chairman Mark Alexander said the Commonwealth bid "demonstrates our capacity to host global events."
Gerald Imray is on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP