Durban Officially Launch Candidacy to Host 2022 Commonwealth Games – But an Olympic Bid Looks Unlikely

March 2, 2015

By Christian Radnedge

Durban officially launched its candidacy to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games – but an Olympic bid looks unlikely.

The Durban 2022 bid committee officially presented their bid book to Commonwealth Games Federation president Prince Imran at London’s Mansion House on Monday in a lavish ceremony.

The host city will be chosen at a CGF general assembly in Auckland, see New Zealand on September 2 and the South African city is likely to win as it is the only bidder after Edmonton withdrew their interest last month.

But speaking to reports after the event, unhealthy Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula was not keen on the idea of also putting together a bid to host the much-coveted Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024.

He said: “It might not be the case (to bid for 2024). We did not back an Olympics bid three years ago for 2020 because of the challenges we were faced with and the fact that after hosting the World Cup we needed a breather.

Durban2022_BidLaunch3“The fact that we will host in the future and have an appetite for that, it’s not off the radar. We will do it. It might not be me, but there will be somebody. In this that challenge government in the future will have the challenge of hosting the Olympics. That’s very important; it is an important mega event that all nations aspire to host globally.”

Durban’s aspirations to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games are based primarily on the fact that the city already has the sporting infrastructure in place, and would just need upgrading for the event.

The centrepiece would be the Moses Mabhida Stadium which hosted games at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and has a capacity of 56,000. Located within the Kings Park Sporting Precinct, the Durban 2022 bid team stressed that nine of the 10 core sports are within a 2.5km radius easing travel concerns for fans.

Bid chairman Mark Alexander confirmed that the total budget would be 6.7 billion RAND, but that not all of it was dependent on being awarded the hosting rights for the Games.

Alexander said that 1.3 billion would be for athlete preparation, which would happen regardless, same as the 1.6 billion assigned for the building of the human settlements – the athletes’ village. The rest would then solely be the Games budget.

Durban2022_BidLaunch2The South African also stressed what effects previous events had on the local economy in Durban – which boasts the second most important seaport in South Africa.

“We’re talking about 20 billion to the economy – surely it pays for itself” Alexander said. “We saw what the World Cup did for the local economy.”

There is no doubting the pride that the South Africans have – their presentation included traditional South African performances and singing.

The bid committee also confirmed their planned date for the opening ceremony of the 2022 Games is July 18 – the anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.