By Tom Degun in the Gold Coast

Gideon_2520Sam_4June 25 - Gideon Sam, the President of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), has revealed that a South African bid for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games is increasingly unlikely but that a bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games is almost certain.

The South African Government announced last month that they would abort their 2020 Olympic bid for financial reasons before the countrie's Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula claimed that he would attempt to persuade them to change their minds.

Sam admitted that there is still a chance of a South African 2020 Olympic bid, with a September 1 deadline to submit bid documents to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), but the chances are now slim with the Government worried about the estimated $50 million (£31 million) it would cost to bid.

However, he revealed that a South African bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games is highly likely and he feels that such an event, if awarded to the country, would provide the perfect platform for a future Olympic bid in 2024 or 2028.

"We are not retreating from the 2020 Olympics, but we are currently taking stock and restrategising as to how we should move forward," Sam told insidethegames.

"I do believe that with a lot of work to convince people on the ground in South Africa, in terms of outlining what we gained from the 2010 FIFA World Cup, a 2020 Olympic bid is a possibility.

"Infrastructure in South Africa improved dramatically because of the World Cup and we showed the world that we could put on a damn good show.

"But 2020 is not an easy sell at all because there is still so much poverty in the country and it would cost so much just to bid.

"So a 2020 bid may not happen.

"But we are very keen to host the World Games in Cape Town in 2017 and we are looking to follow that with a Commonwealth Games bid for 2022 so I think an Olympic bid after that is highly feasible.

"In my own view, probably going forward, we can hopefully get the 2017 World Games, hopefully get the 2022 Commonwealth Games and then maybe bid for the Olympics in 2024 or 2028.

"Something along those lines I think.

"But we need to be clear in our plans.

"We can't just grab everything that flies past and say that we want to host it.

"It needs to fit into an overall plan for the good of South Africa."

Sam is part of the five-person Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Evaluation Commission which is currently inspecting the two bids for the 2018 Commonwealth Games from Australia's Gold Coast and Hambantota in Sri Lanka.

The host city for the 2018 event will be chosen by the CGF at its annual meeting in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11 and Sam revealed that South Africa intend to launch their Commonwealth Games bid for 2022 after the vote.

"In terms of a 2022 Commonwealth Games bid, we will start that process straight after the 2018 vote has concluded and as soon as the CGF open the bidding process for 2022, we will apply," he said.

"That is a real definite in terms of our resolve.

"In the past we stood back from bidding for the Commonwealth Games for Abuja [in Nigeria] but they lost to Glasgow for the right to host the 2014 Games.

"But this time we have stated our intent.

"Even if we do get the 2017 World Games in Cape Town, the 2022 Commonwealth Games would only be another stepping stone forwards and give us more experience.

"We have not yet decided a city to put forward for the Commonwealth Games bid but that will be properly discussed soon.

"But it has been an amazing opportunity and learning experience for me to be part of the CGF Evaluation Commission for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and something that is obviously very valuable as I start to think about 2022.

"If we plan properly in South Africa, we can really do something very special with these big sporting events because there is still a long way to go in South Africa, even after the World Cup.

"The World Cup was a healing process for us.

"If you look what happened when South Africa went out of the World Cup and Ghana were still there, the support for them from the whole of South Africa was amazing.

"There were blacks and whites all together and we all stood as brothers and sisters.

"What we need to do is try to continue that but that can only be done with proper planning and proper strategy."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
June 2011: South Africa may still bid for 2020 Olympics claims Sports Minister
June 2011: South Africa to launch bid for 2022 Commonwealth Games
May 2011: South Africa will not bid for 2020 Olympics after Government decision
May 2011: Exclusive - South Africa hope to make decision on 2020 Olympic bid this month
April 2011: Durban confident it can impress IOC at Session and give 2020 bid major boost