Durban_1August 24 - Durban is confident that it will be given the go-ahead by South Africa's Government to bid for the 2020 Olympics as it seeks to bring the Games to Africa for the first time.

As reported last month on insidethegames, the city, located on the shores of the Indian Ocean, has already expressed a serious intention to host the Games and has received encouragement from Gideon Sam, the President of the South African Sports Commission and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

He said: "There is no bid yet.

"Cities will be invited to bid.

"We will be led by Government’s desire to host such an event because we have to get certain guarantees from them.

"The Minister [of Sport] has indicated that they would not be opposed to such a notion."

Indeed, it had been the Sports and Recreation Minister Makhenkesi Stofile who had revealed last month that South Africa are considering the bid which, they hope, will follow a successful FIFA World Cup that the country due to host next year.

In 1997 Cape Town was beaten by Athens to host the 2004 Olympics but they currently have no plans to bid again.

Sam said: “We haven’t had a formal approach because we first have to ask all our affiliate provinces if they wish to stage the event.

"Only then can we go to individual cities and ask them if they would like to put forward a bid."

With Durban so far being the only South African city to express an interest in bidding for the event, Mike Sutcliffe, the city manager of e Thekwini, the municipality which governs the city, is already pushing their claims.

He said: "We have hosted a huge range of events in Durban and our city is the warmest all year round.

"The other cities either have poor weather or altitude to deal with.

"We are positioning ourselves to host big international events.

"It’s not just the Olympics, but events such as kick boxing and wrestling.”


If Durban, which is South Africa's second biggest biggest city with a population of 3.4 million, does decide to bid, its campaign will centre on the impressive new Moses Mabhida Stadium (pictured), which is due to play a major role in next year's World Cup.

The Stadium will host five group games, one second round game, one quarter-final and a semi-final match.

Sutcliffe said: "We invited competition before the stadium was built.

"We gave six consortiums R1million (£78,000) each and asked them to come up with [the concept of] a well-built, sustainable stadium that will also be able to host an event such as the Olympic Games."

The stadium’s capacity can be rised from 70,000 to 85,000 to meet International Olympic Committee (IOC) guidelines, Sutcliffe said.

There will be early opportunity for Durban to showcase its candidature when it hosts the IOC Session in July 2011, when the host city for the 2018 Winter Olympics will be chosen.

Sutcliffe said: “Our strategy is to work with SASCOC and start making the IOC aware of Durban, South Africa and Africa.

"It is a wonderful opportunity because it a huge international event."

Sutcliffe believes that major events should be held more often in the Southern Hempishere.

He said: “We rarely get that kind of action except perhaps for Melbourne and Sydney.

"At the congress [sic] we will get the opportunity to thank the IOC.

"They were the first sporting body to support the struggle against apartheid and we have to recognise that."

Other candidate cities expected to put themselves forward for the 2020 Olympics are Dubai and New Delhi.

The IOC is due to make a decision on the 2020 host city at its Session in 2013.