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Durban not out of the 2020 race just yet

4 July 2011

It appears the South African city of Durban is not out of the running to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games after all.

A bid was expected off the back of this week’s 123rd Session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Durban this week but recently the South African Government said the money would be better spent elsewhere.

With the IOC in town this week South African sports officials will attempt to persuade the SA Government to rethink their decision.

Africa is yet to host an Olympic Games and it is a goal of the IOC to provide developing countries with a chance to host the event.

Durban officials are certainly using the IOC Session to showcase their city especially the world class stadium built for the Football World Cup in 2010.

Durban also has ideal weather at this time of year when the Games would be held with temperatures in the mid 20s and warmer than its internal rival cities Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Rome is the early favourite to win the right to host the Games in 2020 with other bids likely from Tokyo and maybe Istanbul. Then there is a big question mark over the USA and whether a city like New York may bid again.

The USA has been off the radar after Chicago’s disappointing showing in its quest to host in 2016. The bidding process for 2020 does not close until September so there is time for plenty of “arm twisting” in Durban yet.

The locals are in favour of bidding after they experienced a big boost in tourism during the Football World Cup.

 The main focus in Durban this week is deciding which city will host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games with Munich, the French city of Annecy and South Korea’s Pyeongchang the three candidates.

For Pyeongchang it is a case of third time lucky after two unsuccessful bids while Munich has not hosted the Olympics since its Summer Games in 1972. No other city has hosted both the Summer and Winter Games.

The lobbying is on in earnest with the IOC members to cast their votes on Wednesday.   

Mike Tancred in Durban

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