AFRICA is unlikely to host the Olympics for at least 20 years despite the success of the soccer World Cup in South Africa, which gave rise to hopes the continent might bid to host the Games soon, an IOC official told Reuters.
“There is a huge amount of work to be done besides political desire, hence the experts’ view that any realistic chance for (hosting the) Olympics in Africa is between 2030 and 2040,” said Nawal El Moutawakel, who chaired the IOC’s coordinating committee for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
“I have read studies by some universities specialising in the Olympics who gave Africa between 2030 and 2040 to host the Games and that is a very realistic chance because Olympics is a different ball game,” she said.
The Moroccan 1984 Los Angeles Olympics 400m hurdles champion also chaired IOC’s coordinating committee for the London 2012 Summer Games.
El Moutawakel is in the Kenyan capital Nairobi as part of the organising committee of the 17th African Athletics Championships which kicked off on Wednesday.
“I know South Africa did a wonderful job with the Fifa World Cup, right from the airport, going into the Johannesburg city and suburbs in wide smooth roads, to world class hotels and wonderful facilities in all the cities,” she said.
This sparked hope among Africans that the continent could follow up by staging its first Olympics probably in 2020, she said.
“But soccer World Cup is one sport in nine cities, with 64 matches played by 32 countries in one month. Olympics is 26 sports in one city played by 10 500 athletes in three weeks and watched by billions around the world,” El Moutawakel said.
“Let us face it. Africa has many unique problems and other priorities to handle at the moment.
So I think those studies are not off the mark,” she said.
But the Moroccan senior IOC official had some positive things to say about South Africa, commending them for winning the bid to host a full IOC session in the coastal city of Durban in July 2011 where the announcement for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games will be announced.
“That Durban won the bid to host this important IOC session shows the hard work they put in promoting international sport,” she said.
South Korea’s city Pyongchang will be bidding for the third time after losing to Vancouver and Sochi for the 2010 and 2014 Winter Games respectively. Other bidders are Annecy (France) and Munich (Germany). — Reuters.