Durban is the first African city to ever host the Commonwealth Games on the continent of Africa. A proud achievement and one for the history books. Durban’s bid video leaves a viewer inspired and excited about the host city.
Durban and Edmonton in Canada were the only cities that bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022, but Canada withdrew Edmonton as their bid city in February 2015, naming financial reasons for this choice. No other cities around the Commonwealth made applications to host the Commonwealth Games 2022 which meant Durban was the only choice.
Not even a few hours after the bid was announced as successful, as celebration champagne corks were still popping, the doom and gloom of the world’s media started complaining about the selection of Durban as the host city.
The Guardian in the UK, with countless others, printed articles stating that Durban would prejudice athletes from the UK, Australia and New Zealand, because indoor cycling was likely to be left out of the Commonwealth Games in 2022. An optional sport in the Commonwealth Games and one that is possible to be excluded under the rules of the Games.
Durban made it’s application to host the Commonwealth Games 2022 stating a velodrome was not likely to be built for the event, unless funding for such was made available.
The Guardian reported that South African officials want the International Cycling Union (UCI) to contribute to the cost of building one. The new velodrome would be built in Pietermaritzburg
“I don’t think there was a single African competitor in track cycling in Glasgow,” the New Zealand Olympic Committee chief executive Kereyn Smith said. “So I don’t think there is a groundswell of support for track cycling in South Africa.
“Having said that it is an important sport for leading Commonwealth nations and is very appealing in terms of broadcasting rights so it does have an important part to play.
“Track cycling has been an optional sport for some time but it has been on every programme since 1934 … so I have a sense there will be a lot of discussion as to the inclusion of that sport.”
In an interview in August, Durban bid committee chief executive Tubby Reddy told The Associated Press that Durban may have to sign a “conditional” agreement with the Commonwealth Games Federation next month if, as expected, it is awarded the games.
Reddy, who is also chief executive of South Africa’s Olympic committee, said in an interview that Durban would have 90 days from the hosting decision to acquire the financial guarantees for the Commonwealth Games.
“We still need that guarantee from treasury … just to tie up a few of the clauses as such to ensure that we are not exposing ourselves as a country too much,” Teddy said. “But by the same token, giving the CGF confidence that this country can actually do what we’re saying we can do.”
South Africa’s first foray into major international multi-sports events would cost around $670 million, Reddy said, with $470 million of that coming from government. The rest would be raised by commercial agreements around the games.
It will be interesting to see the outcome of these discussions. Also important to remember all those voices of doom and gloom before the Soccer World Cup. South Africa has this wonderful way of being able to “make it work” in the face of adversity.