Olympics boss keen on Africa

2013-11-17 10:00

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Newly-elected International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach would like to see Africa staging its maiden Olympic Games during his presidency.

All continents have had a bite at the Olympic cherry since 1906 except Africa.

Through the 2016 Games in Brazil, South America will break its duck, leaving Bach (59) with the unenviable task of ensuring that the spectacle comes to Africa.

“I think a bid from South Africa or Africa in general would enjoy great sympathy among the IOC members and among the world of sport at large,” Bach told City Press at his welcome gala dinner hosted by the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) on Thursday.

“South Africa has given the world so much by organising so many great events before and I hope the country can give even more in future. With regards to the organisation of the Games, Africa is still a wide spot on our map. Africa has got a lot of talent and development which is not yet fully exposed.”

Bach succeeded Belgian Jacques Rogge at the IOC elective conference in September to become the first IOC president to have won an Olympic gold medal.

Bach, a lawyer by profession, was a fencing champion at the 1976 Games in Montreal, Canada.

He was the IOC vice-president for more than 10 years since becoming an IOC member in 1991.

His relationship with South African IOC member Sam Ramsamy is the reason Bach has an idea of the country’s stance in sports.

Ramsamy said: “He is a great sportsman. In fact, he looked after all the legal aspects of the IOC so he is fully aware of what is happening within the organisation.

“Bach is keen to help us as he wants the Games to be held in Africa. He had a long discussion with Sascoc president Gideon Sam and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula where he mentioned: ‘What about a future bid?’ The only thing he didn’t say was which year. I’m hoping the bid happens soon rather than later.”

In 2010, Sascoc said it would bid for the 2020 Olympics but the government decided that it wouldn’t support the bid because of pressing social issues.

There was a desire to bid for the 2024 edition.

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