Ramsamy Disappointed at South Africa’s 2020 Olympic Decision

May 27, 2011

South Africa’s International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Sam Ramsamy has admitted that he is “disappointed” at the government’s decision not to bid for the 2020 Olympics.

He went on to reject suggestions that it is a major blow for IOC president Jacques Rogge’s push to stage a Games in Africa for the first time.

Ramsamy stated: “The government confirmed to me and put out a statement that they have decided not to continue with a South African bid for 2020.

“The South African Olympic Committee is certainly disappointed but we understand and fully respect the government decision.

“It has nothing to do with costs, it is an issue of attending to other priorities.”

South Africa’s cabinet issued a statement yesterday, May 26, saying it had decided “that it is better for the country to consolidate the gains of the 2010 FIFA World Cup for now”. 

The government is reportedly prioritizing improvements in the provision of basic services like water and electricity as well as investing in job creation.

Ramsamy added: “It was a 50-50 chance. I am certain we will definitely go for 2024.”

He claimed that he delivered the news to Rogge, who has been making encouraging noises about South Africa bidding for the 2020 Games since the 2010 World Cup, yesterday morning.

Durban was seen as the most likely city to bid, with the city’s hosting of the IOC Session in July considered to be the perfect launchpad for a two-year campaign to land the 2020 Games. Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg were other possible candidates. 

The continent, which has yet to host an Olympics, now faces another long wait to host a Games – until at least 2024, though Ramsamy feels a bid should be encouraged for then, adding: “I don’t believe it is a blow for the IOC, no certainly not. I have informed Jacques Rogge and he understands the government position.

“We will urge the government to consider a 2024 bid.”