JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Fresh from its successful hosting of Africa’s first World Cup, South Africa said Tuesday it will bid to bring the Olympics to Africa for the first time in 2020.
The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee said it would “formally oversee a bid for the 2020 Games” and encouraged potential host cities to “state their intention of being involved in the process.”
Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg are considered possible bid cities.
South Africa’s Olympic body said the announcement, just two days after the World Cup final in Johannesburg, “comes in the wake of resounding international acclaim for the manner in which South Africa staged the 2010 Fifa World Cup.”
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SASCOC said the successful World Cup and the endorsement of a possible Olympic bid by South Africa president Jacob Zuma led to the decision to proceed with the 2020 effort.
“We have decided that the way forward would be to engage government and key stakeholders,” SASCOC chief executive Tubby Reddy said, “but our intention is to provide a world-class city capable of hosting Africa’s first Olympic Games in 2020.”
It will be South Africa’s second Olympic bid. Cape Town finished third in the race for the 2004 Games, behind winner Athens and Rome.
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The IOC’s decision on the host for the 2020 Olympics will be made in 2013, but preliminary bids must be submitted next year. So far Rome is the only city to formally announce it will bid for 2020.
Durban, which is South Africa’s third largest city, will have a chance to impress Olympic officials when it hosts the 123rd IOC session in July 2011— where the host for the 2018 Winter Olympics will be announced.
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SASCOC had said Monday it would consider bidding for either the 2020 or 2024 Olympics, but wanted to talk to South Africa’s government.
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge, who met with Zuma in South Africa over the weekend, has said the IOC would welcome a bid from South Africa.
Rogge attended the World Cup final Sunday at Soccer City and praised the country’s organization of the world’s biggest soccer tournament.
SASCOC said in Tuesday’s statement that the World Cup “has been hailed far and wide as an overwhelming advertisement for the country and the continent.”