Durban Looks To 2020 Or 2024 Olympic Bid

Durban South Africa is looking beyond hosting the 2010 World Cup to a possible bid for the 2020 or 2024 Summer Olympic Games, reports Sowetan

City officials reportedly want to turn Durban into Africa’s capital for sports, entertainment and other events and make no secret of their ultimate target, that is to host the Summer Olympic Games.

Sowetan reports a brochure prepared by Durban for the World Cup points out that the stadium will have the capacity for 70,000 people during the World Cup, but can be expanded to 85,000 for events like the Olympics or Commonwealth Games.

Julie-May Ellingson, the city official heading the 2010 World Cup, said though a decision on whether to bid for the Olympics must be made by South Africa’s president, Durban is eyeing the 2020 or 2024 Olympics. She said, “there is this perception that the world ends after 2010. In Durban we have never ever seen that. Going right back to 2004 we spoke of 2010 and beyond. It is not about what Fifa wants. Fifa will come and go. It’s about what is important for the citizens of Durban”.

The city will be hosting the 2011 congress of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the first to be held in Africa and what is reportedly a golden opportunity to court top officials.

Facilities are being modernized and centralized in the expansive Kings Park precinct where both the new Moses Mabhida and existing rugby stadiums are situated.

The new stadium built for the World Cup is reportedly “a gleaming white edifice topped by a Teflon-coated roof resembling sails, with an arch rising overhead to dominate the city”.

The 350m long arch is shaped like the “Y” on South Africa’s flag, symbolizing the unity of a long-divided nation.

To access the view, a “sky car” will run up the single northern span to the 106m summit, and visitors can climb the 550 steep steps up one southern arm and down the other in an “adventure walk” like Sydney’s harbour bridge.

Plans include a retail mall and restaurants in the stadium, a walkway linking it to the adjacent beach, a “People’s Park”, training pitches, a walking and running track, and a space for fans to enjoy braais and concerts before and after matches.

A municipal brochure says, “in the next few years Durban will become one of the few cities in Africa where most of the main Olympic sporting codes can be played in a centrally located, international-standard destination”.

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