JOHANNESBURG – South Africa will not reconsider bidding for the 2020 Olympics, ending a long-running saga over whether the country would try to host the next available Summer Games.
Officials from South Africa's sports ministry and the national Olympic Committee told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the bid for 2020 Games the sports minister had wanted to revive would not be pursued.
The country -- which successfully hosted soccer's World Cup last year -- would likely bid for the 2024 Olympics, the sports ministry and Olympic committee said.
South Africa's cabinet said in May it was not the right time for an Olympic bid and Department of Sport and Recreation spokesman Paena Galane said Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula had now decided against asking the government to reconsider.
"We are not going to resubmit the request to bid to cabinet," Galane said. "There will be no bid from South Africa for the 2020 Olympics. After careful consideration, the minister (Mbalula) has decided to respect the cabinet decision."
Galane added "the ambition is to consider 2024."
Mbalula had given South Africa's Olympic committee faint hopes that a bid could be revived to bring Africa its first Olympics.
South Africa's chances had also been boosted after it staged the 123rd International Olympic Committee session in Durban last month. The east coast city was favored to be South Africa's candidate.
However, South African Olympic Committee and IOC executive member Sam Ramsamy said the national Olympic body had been told the bid would not be revived.
"We are disappointed, but we understand the complexities of the issues," Ramsamy told the AP. "We will certainly go for 2024. We will engage government and even though there is nothing official yet (for 2024), the indication is that the government will be favorable to a bid."
Rome, Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul, Turkey, have all formally announced they will bid to host the 2020 Summer Games.
A U.S. candidature is possible after the U.S. Olympic Committee filed preliminary paperwork required by the IOC ahead of any potential bid. Doha, Qatar, is also a possible contender.
National Olympic associations have until Sept. 1 to announce candidate cities for 2020.