Menu
Home

Olympics

South Africa must pick 2020 Games bid city quickly: minister

By Ken Borland

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa must hurry up and decide which city will bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games, the country's sports minister Fikile Mbalula said Tuesday.

After successfully hosting last year's soccer World Cup, the country is seeking to bring the world's largest sports event to the only continent which will not have hosted it. Rio de Janeiro will host South America's first Olympics in 2016.

"Durban was the first city to express an interest, but Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg have too," Mbalula told a news conference at South Africa's Olympic House in Johannesburg.

"It is important to decide our position quickly and by the time the International Olympic Committee (IOC) come here for their session in July we need clarity as to which one of those cities will bid."

The coastal city of Durban will host the IOC for their 123rd Session from July 1 to 9 and will be able use the occasion to drum up support for a bid.

"I spoke to Jacques Rogge, the president of the IOC, when he was here for the soccer World Cup last year and he said it was important that we get the process rolling for the bid," Mbalula added.

South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) chief executive Tubby Reddy said his organization was already dealing with government in an effort to get a bid organized.

"After the euphoria of a very successful football World Cup, President Jacob Zuma alluded to us bidding for the Olympics as well," Reddy said.

"There has been interest from three cities ... and all their documentation will go to the minister, who will then take it to the cabinet for their endorsement. The target date for us to launch our bid is September."

(Editing by Sonia Oxley)