POSTED: May 26th 2011

Olympic depression for Durban as government rules out South African 2020 bid

Durban's new Moses Mabhida stadium /
Durban's new Moses Mabhida stadium /

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON/PRETORIA, May 26: Members of the International Olympic Committee will be greeted by a bitter/sweet welcome when they fly into Durban at the start of July to vote on the host city for the 2018 Winter Games.

Durban has been considered South Africa's leading candidate to bid to become the  continent's first host of the summer Games. But the 2020 dream has been shattered by the South African government.

The cabinet has turned down a request by the South African Sports Federation to endorse a 2020 bid. Instead it has recommended that the country focus attention on consolidating the gains made from the FIFA World Cup last year and concentrate on the delivery of basic services.

Cabinet spokesman Jimmy Manyi said: "I think the cost of the bid would have been about $50m and you know how many houses we could build with that."

Manyi added that the cabinet had not taken the decision lightly but it did not want anything that “could be considered a distraction” from the government’s five key priorities of education, fighting crime, health, employment and rural development. The decision was final and would not be altered.

The decision will come a major blow to Durban city officials who had developed an impressive 'sports precinct' concept as the foundation for a potential Olympic bid and had been represented as observers at the IOC Session in Copenhagen when Rio de Janeiro was chosen as first South America host for the Games.

Keywords · IOC · 2020 Olympic Games · Durban · South Africa

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