South Africa

SA ponders Commonwealth bid

2014-02-11 12:00
Gideon Sam (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - South Africa is considering the possibility of hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

South African Sports Confederation & Olympic Committee (SASCOC) president Gideon Sam told the BBC Sport website that he hopes to bring the Games to Africa for the first time.

Sam said he believes "it's Africa's turn" and feels the country could easily host the Games as it boasts the necessary infrastructure as well as the "know-how" following South Africa's hosting of hosting so many international competitions.

A spokesperson from the department of sport and recreation said sports minister Fikile Mbalula had received the application and backs it.

The sports ministry will now work with SASCOC before making a presentation to the South African cabinet, who will make the final decision.

Sam is also the vice-president of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), the body with overall responsibility for running the Games.

In January, the CGF said it was concerned that no nation had registered a serious interest to host the 2022 Games yet, with an initial deadline in March.

However, a spokesperson stressed the March date is for "expressions of interest", with submissions after this date also considered until the final deadline of March 2015.

Meanwhile, Mbalula on Monday said that while it would be nice to host the Commonwealth Games, the main aim is to bring the Olympics to South Africa.

Mbalula, who was speaking at the arrival of the Queen's Baton in South Africa as part of the relay ahead of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, echoed what president Jacob Zuma last year told reporters at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo.

"We don't want to bid for the Commonwealth Games, we want the Olympics here in South Africa," Mbalula said after arriving late for the press briefing at OR Tambo international airport.

"If the Commonwealth comes first that would be great, but our biggest fish to catch is 2024 (Olympic Games).

"I can say, without a shadow of doubt, it would be realisable if we work together because we do it for the future of our young people.

"It is the time now to bid for bigger things, Olympics is about life."

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