"It's time to seriously consider an African Olympics", says IOC Athletes' Commission member

Tuesday, 15 April 2014
By Nick Butler

There is a growing school of thought that an African city such as Durban could one day host an Olympic Games ©Latin Content/Getty ImagesApril 15 - Senegal's International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes' Commission member Amadou Dia Ba has claimed the time has come for Africa to seriously consider bidding to host an Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Dia Ba, 55, described how an African Games is "something that has been talked about for a long time, and the time has come to seriously consider it". 

"I do not think it is too early to go," he told FrancsJeux.

"Nobody thought it possible to receive the FIFA World Cup, but South Africa succeeded, and Morocco are organising this year's World Cup of athletics. 

"It will take the mobilising and assembling of political support, but it is time for it to happen."

The prospects of Africa hosting a Games has been muted for a long time, with Durban rumoured as contenders for the 2024 Games although, after being announced as one of two contenders along with Edmonton in the race to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, they are likely to be focusing on that rather than an Olympic campaign.

Other African cities that some have suggested could bid for a Games in the future include Nairobi in Kenya, Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa as well as the capital city of Senegal, Dia Ba's home country, Dakar. 

Dia Ba, however, believes that Dakar does not have the infrastructure in place to host a Games, and sees a city in the North of the continent, or in South Africa, as a more likely first African host.

Amadou Dia Ba en route to a silver medal over 400m hurdles behind Andre Phillips at Seaul 1988  ©Getty ImagesAmadou Dia Ba en route to a silver medal over 400m hurdles behind Andre Phillips at Seaul 1988 ©Getty Images



Dia Ba, who, in taking a silver medal behind Andre Phillips at Seoul 1988 clocked a time of 47.23sec - which remains the fastest non-winning time in the history of the 400 metres hurdles - also won three African Championship gold medals across the 1982 and 1984 editions.

Since then, he enjoyed a successful administrative career in Senegal, and runs an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Regional Development Centre in Dakar to find the next generation of Senegalese athletics talent.

He has also become an IOC Athletes' Commission member and is on the Board of both the World Olympians Association and the Association for National Olympic Committees.

Dia Ba described how, in all of these pursuits, he works for the best interests of Africa, with vast work still needing to be done. 

Out of these Dia Ba particularly cited infrastructure and competitions which they "sorely lack" as well as the "need to find the financial means to provide our athletes training conditions which allow them to remain in their country of origin".

If this does not occur, he speculated they will likely leave Africa and change their nationality, as has been seen with a number of distance runners in recent years. 

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