JOHANNESBURG. – South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive committee member Sam Ramsamy has said the country is “readying” a bid for the 2024 Olympic Games.
“I think Africa is ready to host an Olympics,” Ramsamy said on Monday, according to the International Sports Press Association (AIPS).
“As South Africa, we are readying to bid for the 2024 Games and with the IOC putting up measures to make the bidding process simpler (in Agenda 2020, to be discussed and potentially approved next week), then we and Africa in general have a very good chance of earning that opportunity.”
An African city has never hosted an Olympics. The most recent bid from the continent was by Cape Town for the 2004 Olympics, which were won by Athens in 1997. Cape Town was third in voting.
A specific 2024 South African bid city was not in the AIPS report on Monday. The IOC will vote to decide the 2024 Olympic host city in 2017.
Should South Africa decide to go ahead with a bid, they are likely to face stiff opposition from one of four USA cities – Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC, as well as a German city, Paris, Rome, Doha and Baku.
Durban is expected to vie for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Meanwhile, South African sport has come a long way in levelling the playing field, President Jacob Zuma said at the 10-year anniversary of the South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) in Johannesburg on Monday.
“As much as we have made many strides to achieve equity, excellence and representivity in sport, there is still a great deal of work to be done to ensure the levelling of the playing field,” Zuma said.
Welcoming the guests, Zuma quipped that Parliament had been quite vibrant in recent times. He paid tribute to athletes that had played their part during the anti-apartheid movement.
“We owe these sons of the soil a debt of gratitude for making it possible for us to rejoice as we celebrate Sascoc’s 10-year existence in our 20 years of democracy and freedom,” the president said.
“We salute these pioneers and their generations of patriotic sportsmen and women,” he said.
“We are also celebrating the history of struggles waged by progressive sports and Olympic bodies.”
Zuma said the country still had to reverse the legacy of apartheid which also had an effect on sport.
“Due to the history of apartheid and the segregated manner in which facilities were provided, many communities still do not have recreational or sports facilities,” Zuma said.
“That is one of the priorities of this government, to build human settlements that will have all these facilities ultimately for our people.”
Zuma went onto hail Springbok legend Joost van der Westhuizen, who is currently battling motor-neuron disease.
“We also salute Joost van der Westhuizen who has contributed immensely to the growth and success of rugby in our country.
“We urge the whole nation to support Joost and his family as he fights a big and difficult battle against motor neuron disease.”
Zuma then praised South African teams and in particular Bafana Bafana for qualifying for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations to be held in Equatorial Guinea.
“We end the year 2014 on a high note as our teams have qualified for international tournaments,” he said.
“This means that 2015 will be both a busy and exciting year for the nation as we cheer our teams on, awaiting good performance on all fronts.”
Zuma joked that it was a special feat for the national soccer team to qualify for the continental showpiece without the country hosting the tournament.
“We congratulate Bafana Bafana on their qualification to participate in the Africa Cup of Nations after a long period of drought,” Zuma said.
“We will all fully support the team in this campaign to bring the Cup back home – just like we did in 1996.” – Supersport.com