Commonwealth Games bid — Durban is ‘ready to rock ’n roll’

2014-10-31 00:00

DURBAN has made it clear that it is ready to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

And with just a decision by the national cabinet pending, and expected before the end of November, senior sports officials have said they would be “ready to rock ’n roll” to make the event happen.

Vusi Mazibuko, general manager of Moses Mabhida Stadium, who is leading the charge for the city, confirmed that Durban is ready.

“The necessary reports are being compiled and will be submitted to Parliament shortly, but based on the requirements of the games, Durban can host the event.

“While Durban would be the host city, the country would be the ultimate host, so national approval is needed.”

This week a report compiled by an eThekwini Metro observer mission led by Mazibuko — which attended the recent Glasgow, Scotland, Commonwealth Games — confirmed the city had all the required infrastructure.

“We can host all the core sports and have multiple indoor facilities, such as the ICC and Durban Exhibition Centre. The economic spin-offs and legacy projects would be significant.”

The Commonwealth Games, in which just over 50 countries participate, allows cities to use existing infrastructure.

SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee board member Mark Alexander said they expected the cabinet to take a decision soon.

“I really hope they do, as it would be good for the country. Within a 2,5 km stretch, Durban can host nine of the 10 core sports, and by that time the city’s bus rapid transport system will be operational.

“We already have plans in place, so that, if Parliament gives the go-ahead, we are ready to rock ’n roll,” said Alexander.

Lee-Roy Newton, vice-president of KwaZulu-Natal Athletics, said bringing the Commonwealth Games to Durban would be a victory for Africa. “An African state might not win the Fifa World Cup in my lifetime, but Africans have continually dominated in athletics.

“It is not just about the games, but will allow for an upgrade of all our facilities and, in turn, position Durban as a great training destination for teams across the globe. Already, as a country, South Africa attracts 50% of the world’s top athletes to various high-performance centres across the country.”

He said the spin-offs would be significant.

While the cost of hosting the games has yet to be determined, the observer mission report said that the Glasgow games cost some £650 million (R11,4 billion), with £90 million going towards security.

Cities bidding for the games need to submit their bids by March 2015. The only other known bidder is Edmonton, Canada.

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