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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

South Africa to make 2020 Olympic bid

Soccer City in Johannesburg
Soccer City in Johannesburg could host the Olympic Games in 2020

South Africa hopes to follow up its hosting of the football World Cup by staging the Olympics after confirming it plans to bid for the 2020 Games.

The country's Olympic committee has invited potential host cities to "state their intention of being involved".

Organisers hope that the success of this year's World Cup will help lead to the first Olympics on African soil.

The International Olympic Committee has yet to begin the selection process but a host is set to be named in mid-2013.

Other cities who have expressed an interest in bidding are Budapest in Hungary, Busan in South Korea, this year's Commonwealth Games hosts Delhi in India, while Taiwan, Dubai and Italy are also expected to bid.

Cape Town beat off competition from Durban and Johannesburg for the South African bid to host the 2004 Games but was well beaten into third place in the overall campaign by Athens.

"Our intention is to provide a world-class city capable of hosting Africa's first Olympic Games in 2020," said Sascoc chief executive Tubby Reddy.

The move comes after President Jacob Zuma publicly declared the World Cup a success and expressed confidence that South Africa could do a similarly excellent job in 2020.

"For our eyes to be on 2020, we are not weary, because we have the facilities," he said.

IOC president Jacques Rogge met with Zuma in South Africa over the weekend and attended Sunday's World Cup final at Soccer City.

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

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

South Africa built several new stadiums for the World Cup, while infrastructure improvements in transport, energy and communications also took place.