By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

July 12 - International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge claimed today that South Africa hosting the Olympics and Paralympics would be a natural progression after successfully staging the FIFA World Cup.

Rogge was among the crowd of 84,490 at Soccer City in Johannesburg to see Spain beat the Netherlands 1-0 in the final to lift the trophy for the first time in their history.

"From the start, when South Africa were named as World Cup hosts, we all knew the country would be able to organise the tournament," Rogge said.

"This country has hosted a very successful All Africa Games [in 1999], a Rugby World Cup [in 1995] and international cricket championships [including the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007].

"Now it is up to you as a nation to decide if you want to host this event."

Rogge (pictured third from right) held informal discussions with South African President Jacob Zuma during his visit to Johannesburg and is understood to have received positive encouragement that the country would launch a bid for the Olympics.

Gideon Sam, the President of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), confirmed that they were set to put in a bid for either 2020 or 2024.

"It is the dream of the International Olympic Committee that developing countries are given an opportunity to host the Olympics," Sam said after receiving a minibus vehicle on behalf of SASCOC from Rogge.

"It is now up to the Government, the National Olympic committee and the sporting community whether or not this country takes the decision to bid for the Games.

"The IOC has certain policies by which we will be guided if our Government supports a possible bid.

"I can’’t say that we will be going for 2020 or 2024, but we will be guided by the sporting movement in this country as to what we are going to do."

South Africa's Deputy Sport Minister Gert Oosthuizen said the Government had already shown interest in bidding for a future Olympics and would be in discussions with SASCOC about the 2020 and 2024 Games.

"I think it’’s safe to say that we have expressed interest in hosting an event of this magnitude that will leave legacies," he said.

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