South Africa capable of hosting Olympics says Rogge

Durban: South Africa has the ability to host a summer Olympic Games following the success of this year’s soccer World Cup, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge said on Monday.

Rogge, who is attending an international sports conference, said the World Cup showed the country’s ability to host a major sporting event.

“I would like to emphasise that South Africa is capable of organising a very good Games. There is no doubt about that,” Rogge told a news conference.

Rio de Janeiro will host South America’s first Olympic Games in 2016 which will leave Africa as the only continent which has not hosted the world’s largest sports event.

Rogge said he would be pleased to see Africa hold its first Olympics but also sounded a note of caution.

“The IOC would be delighted to award the Games to Africa because it is the only continent that has not organised a Games.

“But I want to be clear that we would only award the Games on quality not on location. The bottom line is, is that the athletes deserve good Games. That will be the defining factor.

“Rio got the Games mostly based on quality, not just because we wanted to award the Games to Brazil. It would be the same for any South African, or African, bid,” he said.

In a separate interview with Reuters, Rogge added: “We would love to come to Africa as a continent or South Africa as a country.

“Africa is indeed the last continent not to have hosted the Games. We would welcome a candidate from South Africa or indeed an African candidate.”

South African IOC executive board member Sam Ramsamy hinted that his country would bid for the 2020 Games.

“Everyone has talked how successful the World Cup was and they have seduced us into trying to put a bid forward,” Ramsamy told the news conference.

“But we will have to discuss it with our African and our Olympic colleagues before making our decision. According to IOC regulations it’s too premature (to announce a bid) at this stage. We are having discussions with the government on that particular point.”

The IOC will hold its general assembly in Durban in July next year where the winner of the 2018 Winter Olympic bid will be announced.

The three cities in the running are Munich in Germany, Annecy in France and Pyeongchang in South Korea.

The bidding process for 2020 will begin after the announcement.

Bureau Report