Durban on top for Games bid

Durban Skyline
Durban Skyline

Durban has been elevated to pole position to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games after its only rival, Edmonton in Canada, pulled out of the race citing financial worries.

But Durban must still present a polished bid and satisfy requirements in order to become the first African city to host the 84-year-old multi-sport event, a spokesman for the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) said yesterday.

“We will continue preparing to submit our bid to the Commonwealth Games Federation [CGF] on March 2,” he said. “The assessment teams will come to assess the facilities. “It has to be a quality bid,” he said. The CGF’s general assembly will decide on the host on September 2, even if it is a one-horse race.

Edmonton, the capital of the oil-rich state of Alberta and host of the 1978 Commonwealth Games, decided to scrap the 2022 bid because of the plummeting oil price.

The city said since it had announced its intention to bid, the Alberta government had seen its fiscal programme go from a C$500-million (R4.6-billion) surplus to a C$7-billion deficit (R65-billion).

“It would not be right to bid when cuts are being made to programmes like in our education and health,” bid chairman Reg Milley said.

Edmonton is planning to bid for the 2026 Games instead.

Glasgow 2014 Ltd, which organised the Games last year, has said that the showpiece had come in at £35-million (R631-million) under the initial £372million (R6.7-billion) price tag.

The cost of the Durban bid has yet to be announced. But a source said it would require mostly upgrades to venues around the Moses Mabhida Stadium. “And the athletes’ village will be part of a social housing development programme,” he said.

-David Isaacson

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