Good Games news for PMB

2015-06-05 07:26
Two men sit and eat lunch at the Cascades MTB track yesterday, hoped to be a venue for the Commonwealth Games.

Two men sit and eat lunch at the Cascades MTB track yesterday, hoped to be a venue for the Commonwealth Games. (Jonathan Burton)

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PIETERMARITZBURG will be one of the cities co-hosting the Commonwealth Games 2022 should South ­Africa’s bid be granted later this year.

EThekwini Sport and Recreational manager Ravi Subramoney and Moses Mabhida Stadium general manager Vusi Mazibuko delivered the good news at an executive council meeting yesterday. The duo said the prospects for South ­Africa to succeed in the bid are 100% since the country is believed to be the only bidder to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

In the country’s bid application in London in March, Pietermaritzburg Cascades MTB Park was recognised to host the mountain biking world games.

“Personally it is quite encouraging to see eThekwini extending the friendship and inviting us to join them. We have a lot to offer to ensure the games are successful,” said city Mayor Chris Ndlela.

The delegation, led by Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula, officially lodged the bid at the formal lodgement ceremony held at Mansion House in London on March 2.

“Our bid met all the ticks required from a technical and emotional side. We have the technical know-how and that is why we won the bid to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup,” said Mazibuko.

He said the two key advantages South Africa holds over other countries is the fact that no new facilities need to be built and all venues suggested are existing.

“Another advantage is that nowhere in the world will you find all codes being played in a 2,5 km radius like Durban …” he said.

Other venues in the province include Moses Mabhida Stadium, Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC promenade, King’s Park, UKZN Westville and uShaka Marine World and beach.

Although it is early days, Msunduzi Municipality says hosting the Commonwealth Games will be “a major boost for the city economy”.

“Having some of the venues in Pietermaritzburg will create a ripple effect on all industries in the city. Hospitality, food and retail will benefit. Pietermaritzburg is increasingly becoming the biking capital with our world class MTB park,” said the municipality’s Madeleine Jackson.

Mazibuko assured the executive committee no direct costs will be incurred for the Msunduzi Municipality and “all overlays and temporary infrastructure will be covered by the organising committee”.

“Indirect costs are at the discretion of the Msunduzi Municipality. The municipality may choose to ‘games ready’ the city, particularly the infrastructure around the competition venue … there would be a seven-year window period to plan this,” said Mazibuko during his presentation to the city council.

Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business CEO Melanie Veness expressed her excitement should the country be selected to host aspects of the Commonwealth Games.

“Pietermaritzburg is recognised as the bike city in Africa and it is absolutely fantastic for our city should we get this. It will be an incredible spin-off for all businesses in the city,” said Veness.

Pietermaritzburg Tourism spokesperson Dumisani Mhlongo said hosting an events of the Commonwealth Games will enhance the status of the city.

“Pietermaritzburg is positioned as an events city due to many signature events that take place here such as the Comrades Marathon, Mandela Day Marathon, Duzi Canoe Marathon and so on. This would enhance our status as an events city,” said Mhlongo.

Mhlongo highlighted the need for “at least a 4-star hotel” in the city.

“Such a hotel would bring with it ­conferencing facilities, which also remains a challenge. The council is looking at this seriously,” he added.

The announcement of the successful bid will be made on September 2 when 71 Commonwealth Games Federation member countries will vote

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