Rogge Urged to Back African Olympic Bid

March 18, 2011

The vice-president for Africa of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Gambian Abdoulie Touray, claims that Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) needs to offer as much support to a bid from Africa for the Olympics as Sepp Blatter gave to the continent’s staging of the World Cup.

The success of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa has raised hopes that an African city will soon be able to successfully bid to host the Olympcis and Paralympics, with Durban emerging as a serious candidate to put itself forward for the 2020 Games.

The subject was top of the agenda at the Africa International Sports Convention (CISA), attended by several IOC members and high-powered delegations from the three cities bidding for the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

Member of the IOC’s ruling Executive Board, South Africa’s Sam Ramsamy, was confident that there will be an African bidder for 2020 with Durban, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth all having put themselves forward. 

Ramsamy stated: “We presented the bids by the three·cities·to the [South African] Government and we are awaiting the decision on which one of the trio will succeed.

“The outcome·is expected·next month and Africa is definitely in the race for 2020.”

Ramsamy claimed that when an African city did put itself forward then the whole continent would unite behind it, adding: “We will get one city to bid from Africa and the good thing is that in Africa we have unity when it comes to matters of international contests.

“The question is when and where and not whether Africa is ready!”

South Africa’s hosting of the World Cup is thought to be among the best organised tournaments ever and passed off without any major problems, leading Rogge to encourage a city from that country to bid for the 2020 Games.

Gambia’s Touray claimed that Rogge had to go further if a bid was to be successful and follow the lead of Blatter, who consistently backed South Africa’s campaign to host the World Cup and refused to criticise them when they suffered problems.

“Jacques Rogge needs to come out and make a deliberate statement that Africa does have world-class facilities and can host the Olympic Games,” Touray said.

“He needs to do for Africa what Sepp Blatter did.”

There was backing for an African bid from Sergey Bubka, the world pole vault record holder who is now a member of the IOC and a 

Senior vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and pole vault world record holder Sergey Bubka also backed an African bid, but he urged the continent to try to urge more major events, such as the IAAF World Championships.

“I agree that Africa deserves to host the Olympics but then African nations must strive to deliver strong bids that can meet the prerequisite conditions,” he said.

“Africa needs to host many more major championships to gain experience and confidence for the Olympics. 

“But the Governments too must show goodwill and commit to supporting bids and more importantly invest financial resources.”