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Durban needs to bid for the 2020 or 2024 Olympic Games

Marc
  • On July 12, 2010
  • http:/www.marcforrest.com

So the curtain has been drawn on the worlds biggest sports spectacle. The last month has literally been a blur, and every single person I have spoken to in the last month, has mentioned soccer. But it’s not only that. It is the manner in which we did this. We pulled it off. No one can say we messed up. Yes, there was a glitch with the airport in Durbs. Yes, there was a mugging here and there. But overall, I think we get a 9.999 out of 10. But what now ? What’s the next step ? Do we smile and bask in the glory of the world cup, and say “yes” we did it? We need to think forward. We need to think  “What next ?”

Durban has received 2 brilliant write ups over the last week. An article by Washington Post columnist Steve Goff, entitled “Oh Durban, where have you been my whole World Cup?”,  is an inspiring look at Durban by a foreign journalist. Former London financial times sports editor, David Owen, also adds another perspective to Durban in a piece called “I think I have seen Africa’s first Olympic city.”  These 2 articles add an outsiders perspective to this amazing & versatile city.

The Moses Mabhida stadium could easily be given first prize for the most picturesque stadium of the world cup. The fact that it is less than 200m from the Indian ocean, gives it a sub-tropical holiday feel when looking at it from the overhead helicopter shops. My experience of the stadium has been beyond all my expectations. From my first visit while the stadium was still being built, through to a visit with the family to the top of the arch, right through to my 2 games, I simply cannot fault it on anything. Really.

Durban has been tipped to bid for either the 2020 or 2024 Summer Olympic games. Emperor Sepp has given his blessing, as well as President Jacob Zuma. Durban & KZN are fully capable of hosting the Olympic games. The fact that 80% of the events can be held within a 3km radius from the Moses Mabhida stadium bodes well for the bid. Durban already has everything in place, and after doing a research, I can only see the need to maybe build one or 2 new venues, if that. KZN has hosted numerous sporting events over the last couple of years, with a couple big ones lined up. Pietermarizburg is hosting the World BMX championships in 3 weeks time !! We also host the world biggest ultra marathon, as one of the, if not THE, biggest river canoe race, the Duzi canoe marathon.

I been thinking about this a lot lately after reading some of the articles above, and I honestly think we can do it. Everything is in place, and with a few tweaks at the airport, which is being continuously expanded, Durban has everything in place to bid for the Olympics. After doing a bit of research I put together a list of venues, which can be used in and around Durban & KZN, for the various Olympic sports:

Discipline Sport Venue
Aquatics Diving Kings Park Pool
Swimming Kings Park Pool
Synchronized swimming Kings Park Pool
Water polo Kings Park Pool
Canoe Canoe/kayak (flatwater) Umgeni River
Canoe/kayak (slalom) Tugela River
Cycling BMX Pietermaritzburg
Mountain biking Holla Trails
Road cycling PMB – Durban
Track cycling Cyril Geoghegan velodrome
Gymnastics Artistic ICC/Durban Exhibition Centre
Rhythmic ICC/Durban Exhibition Centre
Trampoline ICC/Durban Exhibition Centre
Volleyball Volleyball (beach) Durban Beach Front
Volleyball (indoor) University of KZN
Equestrian
Dressage Shongweni Equestrian Centre
Eventing Shongweni Equestrian Centre
Jumping Shongweni Equestrian Centre
Wrestling Freestyle ICC/Durban Exhibition Centre
Greco-Roman ICC/Durban Exhibition Centre
Sports Archery Kings Park Archery
Athletics Moses Mabhida
Badminton ICC/Durban Exhibition Centre
Basketball University of KZN / New arena
Boxing ICC/Durban Exhibition Centre
Fencing ICC/Durban Exhibition Centre
Field hockey Queensmead Hockey Stadium
Football Moses Mabhida
Handball ICC/Durban Exhibition Centre
Judo ICC/Durban Exhibition Centre
Modern pentathlon Various
Rowing Harbour/New Arena
Sailing Harbour & Sea
Shooting Umzinto
Table tennis ICC/Durban Exhibition Centre
Taekwondo ICC/Durban Exhibition Centre
Tennis Westridge Tennis Stadium
Triathlon Beach & Surrounds
Weightlifting ICC/Durban Exhibition Centre
20/20 Cricket Kingsmead Cricket Stadium

I really hope Durban gets their act together and bids for an Olympic Games. Imagine hosting THE worlds largest sporting event on African soil. Wow, after the feeling of euphoria after the amazing world cup, I can’t imagine how we will feel when the Olympic Flame is put out.

Below is a map with some of the venues showing their proximity:

Comments

  1. Kevin Cadman

    Nice article Marc – just one bit of criticism. The Exhibition Centre really isn’t that big, and you propose to have 13 of the events there. The Olympics is usually a month long, meaning these sports really won’t have that much time/space to work with.

    A ‘multi-sports centre’ will have to be built to cater for the majority of those. Remember Gymnastics draws a large crowd and needs lots of space – this would occupy the ICC for the majority of the time.

    I have no doubt we’d be able to pull it off, but we’d need to build new stadiums for:

    Multi-purpose ball-sports centre: Handball, Basketball, Badminton, Table-tennis
    Multi-purpose sports centre: Taekwondo, Weightlifting, Judo, Fencing, Boxing,

    We’d also need MAJOR upgrades to the majority of our minor stadiums – Cyril Geoghan Stadium would need to be completely revamped.

    Look, it’s possible, but it’ll cost a LOT of money. Let’s wait and see how bad the ‘world cup hangover’ is before we start bidding to take on billions more debt :)

  2. South Africa certainly needs to keep the momentum going that has served to blind people together in a most amazing way, and bidding on the 2020 Olympics and working together to achieve this would be fantastic. Durban has much to offer and is certainly a major contender. The city fathers of Cape Town are taking a more cautious view without rushing into things. Right now the whole world loves South Africa and Cape Town is on the top of the list of most desirable places to visit , so we hope that Cape Town will be the chosen venue for the 2020Olymoic Games.

  3. Is Moses Mabhida big enough for an athletics track? I know it’s oval shaped, but it didn’t look quite the size of an 8x400m track.

  4. Ok, looks like it was designed to be suitable for the Olympics.

  5. Sandra

    RSA cannot host any of the equestrian events because of African horse sickness. There is one small vector free zone in Kenilworth in Cape Town. I’m still waiting to see how they are going to get round this one, if Durban is chosen. Shongweni is out of the question, no international competitor will risk bringing his horse into a horse sickness zone, not to mention the strict quarantine to then get it out again.

  6. @Sandra Thanks for the comment.
    That’s a very interesting fact. I wonder how the potential bidders will deal with that ?

  7. Nice Article Marc, as you pointed out, Durban at this moment in time is the best prepared city for hosting an Olympic games. We do need a multipurpose indoor complex, ICC & exhibition center wont be big enough, also we have to remember we going to be hosting the worlds media, so a proper media center has to be built. Saw proposed area’s being the empty site across from the swimming pool for this. Most of the media guys were based in Jhb for the WC so Durban didnt have that much strain. Lots of things to consider before the bid but I’ll be behind Durban 100% seeing as our city makes the most sense to make a bid.

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