Exclusive: South African bid for 2024 Olympic Games imminent, says Ramsamy
Sunday, 01 April 2012
April 1 - Sam Ramsamy (pictured), South Africa's International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board member, has revealed that his country is set to bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The IOC have been vocal in their desire to take the Games to the continent of Africa for the first tim, but were left disappointed when South Africa announced they would not bid for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympics despite intense speculation that they would.
Shortly ahead of the deadline for bids for the 2020 Games, South Africa's Cabinet issued a statement in May 2011 saying it would not bid because it had decided "that it is better for the country to consolidate the gains of the 2010 FIFA World Cup for now".
But Ramsamy, one of the most respected figures in the IOC, said that a 2024 bid is now imminent, with his native Durban the most likely Applicant City.
"We did discuss the issue of bidding for the Olympics with the South African Government for 2020 and the Government felt that we needed to get all the FIFA 2010 World Cup issues out the way," Ramsamy told insidethegames.
"But we are now looking forward to being a candidate for the 2024 Olympic Games.
"I believe that everybody is looking forward to a South African bid because Africa is the one continent that has not hosted the Games.
"Many people believe that South Africa is the ideal spot for the Games and we will work on that."
The 74-year-old is also part of the IOC Coordination Commission for London 2012 and knows the capital well, having been based here for over a decade, working as a lecturer in physical and health education and leading an anti-apartheid campaign for the latter part of the last century.
He predicted that the pending Games will be a major success and praised the work that has been done by London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe and chief executive Paul Deighton.
"There is no doubt that Seb Coe, Paul Deighton and the entire London 2012 team have played a role that I have not seen in sport before," he said.
"They have taken Olympism and the Olympic Games to a new dimension.
"What I predict we will see at London 2012 is the Olympic spirit in full force; which to some extent did not exist at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
"I think that will encourage people from all different areas to get involved in community activities."
Read insidethegames' full interview with Sam Ramsamy here.
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July 2011: South African Sports Minister to formally ask Government to bid for 2020 Olympics
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July 2011: Ramsamy confident that South African Government will change mind over 2020 Olympic bid