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Durban 2020: Official Thread


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Durban: Running Olympic rings around the rest

Barbara Cole

September 16 2010 at 01:19PM

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There was really only ever going to be one realistic South African bidder for the 2020 Olympics - Durban.

It makes the process a lot simpler for the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc). No internal squabbling, no local play-offs - it's just Sascoc and Durban. The city has been understandably chuffed with itself. Its long-term goal was always the Olympics, otherwise it wouldn't have spent an absolute fortune on the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

The World Cup was South Africa's biggest PR exercise to date, but the Olympics will surpass that. It could lift Durban into the international light like never before. But the euphoria will be tempered in the next few years as the amount of work and money required become reality.

Sascoc president Gideon Sam said: "We're not talking thousands or millions here; we're talking billions. "I don't know exactly what it will cost because we don't know exactly what infrastructure is needed. That's why I'm meeting various people this week, to discuss these things. "Remember, it's 26 sports, not one, as with the World Cup. We have to put our heads together, see what we need and what costs are involved."

Make it happen

With an internationally acclaimed reputation for hosting successful global sporting events, there is no doubt that Durban "can really make the Olympics happen". Deputy mayor Logie Naidoo is upbeat about Durban's chances. The city has the expertise, the best infrastructure and plenty of land to build extra facilities, if necessary.

City manager Michael Sutcliffe agrees.Durban's long-term planning has always been to think big. It has already dubbed itself "Africa's sporting and events capital" (Joburg has a similar slogan), but the city's vision foresees Durban becoming the world's sporting capital. It certainly has a lot going for it, particularly as a multi-sport venue.

An impressive track record already includes hosting events such as the Rugby World Cup, the Cricket World Cup, the World T20 Championships, the A1 Grand Prix, the Quiksilver ISA World Surfing Games, the Fina/Arena Swimming World Cup, the Clipper Round-the-World Yacht Race, the International Cycling Federation's World's View Road Challenge in Pietermaritzburg, and just recently, the BMX World Championships, also in Pietermaritzburg.

Then, there are the Comrades Marathon, the British/Irish Lions Tour in 2009, the Dusi Canoe Marathon, the Vodacom Durban July, and the Indian Premier League tournament in 2009. Durban has had some memorable and nail-biting sporting moments too.

Remember that mud-bath of a game when South Africa took on France in the torrential rain during the 1995 Rugby World Cup - and won? Then there was the Tri-Nations clash in l998 between the All Blacks and South Africa, when South Africa won 24-23 and took the Tri-Nations title for the first time. What about the 2007 Super 14 final when The Bulls snatched victory from the Sharks in that 20-19 thriller?

This was followed by victory the next year when the Sharks raised the Currie Cup, to cheers from ecstatic local fans and a ticker-tape celebration.

Finally, the ultimate sporting event (so far, that is), the seven 2010 Soccer World Cup matches played in the city's Moses Mabhida Stadium, hailed as one of the best stadiums in the world by Fifa officials.

And didn't the world love Durban?

The stadium got 700 mentions in the global media every day. The experience, the atmosphere, the beach, the close proximity of the stadium to other attractions and the weather - it all had journalist Steven Goff on the Washington Post raving: "Oh Durban, where have you been for my whole World Cup?"

We have had our fair share of sporting stars too? Olympic gold medalist Penny Heyns, world surfing champion Shaun Tompson, Springbok rugby captain John Smit, cricketers Jonty Rhodes, Shaun Pollock, Hashim Amla and former Bafana Bafana skipper Neil Tovey.

The award-winning Moses Mabhida Stadium (15 awards to date) was, of course, especially built for the soccer World Cup, but with the future in mind, an athletics track was also included. There are 70 000 seats and enough space for another 15 000 - enough for the Olympics. Should Durban become the host city, this would be the main stadium.

The Absa Stadium, a stone's throw away, would be the secondary athletics venue. There are many other facilities nearby that cater for a range of sports - from golf to cycling, archery, swimming, rugby, judo, canoeing, yachting. And there's a fully-equipped gym for athletes wanting to train during the 22-day event. And, across the city, there are the ICC and the Durban Exhibition Centre.

Ideally, what is needed is a new multipurpose indoor sports centre near the stadium. The Olympic Village, complete with accommodation, dining facilities and a laundry, could go up on the old drive-in site, says Naidoo. Durban's advantage is that it could stage a host of sports (together with training venues) within a few kilometres of the Olympic Village. And that all fits in with the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) "compact solution" of having events in a concentrated precinct.

While the city has not done any estimates of likely costs, the bill would be cushioned by the fact that "a lot of money" was spent preparing for the World Cup: thus much of the infrastructure is already in place.

However, although the city is confident of its Olympic prospects, it would not be taking anything for granted. And when the IOC comes to Durban for its conference next July, the city plans to show off the town "in all its glory".

The advantages in Durban as a host city, says the city manager, are the climate, location and the infrastructure and eventing record. It would also be "the lowest cost solution for Africa".

Those in the know say that the biggest lesson learnt from the World Cup was that it was not the infrastructure that was the city's main asset, but the weather. While Cape Town has the potential for bad weather and Joburg can be miserable and cold, Durban has warm weather, even in winter. And, finally, before we forget... Durban is in Africa. The IOC is keen to take the Olympic Games to the developing nations.

Durban will have its work cut out to prove it is worthy of representing the continent.

Facilities already in place ...

The Moses Mabhida Stadium ... For soccer and athletics. And of course, the opening and closing ceremonies.

King's Park Precinct ... For athletics and archery, with the fields also used as training venues for various sports.

Kingsmead Stadium ... A training venue for football.

Cyril Geohegan Stadium ... For cycling, with mountain biking at Giba George near Hillcrest and road cycling on surrounding roads.

Durban Country Club/Royal Durban Golf Club/Windsor Park Golf Club ... The match and |training courses and driving range.

Durban Exhibition Centre (DEC) ... For fencing, gymnastics, judo, table tennis, chess and weight-lifting.

Centrum Parking (near ICC, DEC) ... These venues may be used for the International Broadcasting Centre.

Umgeni River ... For slalom canoeing.

Queensmead Stadium, Umbilo ... For hockey

Shongweni Club ... With 34ha available, it is "perfectly positioned" for all equestrian events, says Anton Mostert, chairman of the Durban Shongweni Club. Just 20 minutes' drive from Durban with access from two freeways.

BMX Track, Pietermaritzburg ... BMX is the newest Olympic sport.

Badminton Hall, Cobhan Grove... For badminton.

Other infrastructure

Hotels... Come 2020, there will be no shortage of accommodation in Durban and the surrounding areas. The beachfront already boasts several hotels and new ones are going up in Umhlanga all the time. By 2020, the Point Waterfront will be finished, and there will probably be another top-end hotel there.

Transport... Durban ran a successful World Cup transport programme involving moving thousands of people from the suburbs into the city in shuttle buses, and this could be replicated again. Passengers were also moved around the city in the new People Mover buses.

Then there is the region's new King Shaka International Airport.

There is likely to be a new passenger terminal and direct international flights, certainly to and from the East and Europe, by 2020.

Trains... There is already a new train station next to the Moses Mabhida Stadium, and long before 2020, the service will have been extended to King Shaka International Airport, providing easy access in and out of the city.

Fast train... By 2020, the proposed fast train between Durban and Johannesburg, could well be a reality.

What still has to be done ...

Ideal scenario... A new, multi-purpose indoor sports centre, to be built somewhere near the Moses Mabhida Stadium) for such sports as badminton.

King's Park Pool Complex ... This has to be upgraded and the city would be up for that, says deputy mayor Logie Naidoo.

Umgeni River ... A 200 to 300m artificial white-water slalom course would need to be built near Kingfisher Canoe Club, the canoeing capital of South Africa. A similar one was built for the Sydney Games at a cost of $12 million, and it became such a popular attraction afterwards, the authorities recouped their money within a year. "We would seriously consider that and look at that international best practice and see how it worked," said Naidoo.

Westridge ... The tennis stadium would have to be dramatically upgraded to cope with the huge influx of fans expected to flock in to watch the big names, who are professionals, unlike athletes in other disciplines.

What will the visitors be able to do ...

With the beach (now upgraded) on the doorstep, what a question? The Durban World Cup Fan Festival was the most popular in the world.

There are no shortage of other attractions either ...

This article was originally published on page 13 of Daily News on September 16, 2010

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=6&click_id=4&art_id=vn20100916124120808C257551&singlepage=1

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For those of you not to certain on the proximity of the Kings Park precinct to the city centre check out this amazing picture.

by "they call me daryn" @flickr.com

4775155565_99980f8cb9_o.jpg

And another overhead shot showing the space available for new development in the precinct and the existing infrastructure

4709390670_101290965f_b.jpg

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Oh yeah, I even see a closeby 'warm-up' track. As I said, with the revolving restaurant, just play your cards right up to 2013, and I think Durban's got in the bag.

Durban, the Atlanta of the 21st century!!

I'd love to be a fly on the wall of the CONI and the JOC offices now.

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Absolutely beautiful, panaramic picture, dysan.

Even the few pictures I've been able to find online didn't do Durban justice as the one you just posted.

I really think Durban could be the Barcelona, rather than the Atlanta, of the 21st century.

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These are ads of Durban released globally before the 2010 World Cup. They give you a little glimpse into what the city is like and our carefree, have fun, relax city attitude.

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These are ads of Durban released globally before the 2010 World Cup. They give you a little glimpse into what the city is like and our carefree, have fun, relax city attitude.

<object style="height: 344px; width: 425px"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPXJ7OfwXz0?version=3"><param'>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPXJ7OfwXz0?version=3"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPXJ7OfwXz0?version=3" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="425" height="344"></object>

<object style="height: 344px; width: 425px"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M89_Mw01elo?version=3"><param'>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M89_Mw01elo?version=3"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M89_Mw01elo?version=3" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="425" height="344"></object>

This board doesn't embed by using the embed code. You have to click the media button and just post the vids url. Media button can be found to the right of the quotes tag button.

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To paraphrase Jerry Maguire, "Show me the IOC delegates"...

Unless there is some kind of rapid change in the IOC's already demonstrable ambivalence regarding African bids (have we forgotten Nawal's statements that quickly?) and an overturning of the European power already inherent within the existing executive board (almost half of the current group including the president and two VPs) whatever Durban puts forward will need some serious support from a membership that may well be happy just to wine and dine to their hearts content next year and say thanks then move on to the next bean feast.

And history shows us Durban's 2011 session is no lock for a conversion to a successful bid. You gotta go back to 1978 to find a session which was held in a city that then went on to successfully submit a bid (and considering that was Athens which took another 19 years to get up and even then needed 2 bids in that process) then perhaps Durban might start thinking more about 2028.

There's potential no doubt but the existing power structures and history are definitely against Durban 2020. Beware Mario Pescante....

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To paraphrase Jerry Maguire, "Show me the IOC delegates"...

And Durban will, next year.

I'm notoriously sceptical about South Africa's chances for 2020 myself, but the session next year is a gift not to be underestimated. Durban's session really is unprecedented in being in a city in the midst of its own bid race to be decided at the immediate next following session. Add to that the fact it's been about a decade now since the IOC members have been barred from bid city visits. It's a huge advantage and opportunity for them that no bidder's ever really had before. I'd go as far to say as it could prove to be more influential to their chances than this year's World Cup.

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And Durban will, next year.

I'm notoriously sceptical about South Africa's chances for 2020 myself, but the session next year is a gift not to be underestimated. Durban's session really is unprecedented in being in a city in the midst of its own bid race to be decided at the immediate next following session. Add to that the fact it's been about a decade now since the IOC members have been barred from bid city visits. It's a huge advantage and opportunity for them that no bidder's ever really had before. I'd go as far to say as it could prove to be more influential to their chances than this year's World Cup.

Well in that case where will that put the IOC ethically as well as how will that influence other bids in terms of what they can and can't do? If Rome's bid team raises concerns with Durban's bid having an advantage that is way above current standards (as could Tokyo or others) then not only will they have a justifiable cause for concern plus it would put the exec board (with Pescante up front and Jacques not to far behind) in the position of trying to defend a bid that has effectively contravened their recently assumed power dominance. It would also surely mean that Durban would have to effectively isolate the delegates from Durban's bid to uphold the IOC's own dictates to avoid a conflict of interest within the membership.

If the Durban bid takes any untoward advantage from hosting the session in 2011 for a 2013 bid it will quickly turn ugly for the IOC (not that they are unfamiliar with looking like brigands and free booters lol) but more importantly it will solidify opposition from the other bids. Those all important second choice votes will be bartered and swapped like needles in a junkies house and before you know it someone like Rome or Tokyo could climb into the box seat based on the membership choosing not to back Durban on first preferences.

And let's not forget how much the IOC loves to play second fiddle to the path trod by FIFA...not.

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Well in that case where will that put the IOC ethically as well as how will that influence other bids in terms of what they can and can't do? If Rome's bid team raises concerns with Durban's bid having an advantage that is way above current standards (as could Tokyo or others) then not only will they have a justifiable cause for concern plus it would put the exec board (with Pescante up front and Jacques not to far behind) in the position of trying to defend a bid that has effectively contravened their recently assumed power dominance. It would also surely mean that Durban would have to effectively isolate the delegates from Durban's bid to uphold the IOC's own dictates to avoid a conflict of interest within the membership.

If the Durban bid takes any untoward advantage from hosting the session in 2011 for a 2013 bid it will quickly turn ugly for the IOC (not that they are unfamiliar with looking like brigands and free booters lol) but more importantly it will solidify opposition from the other bids. Those all important second choice votes will be bartered and swapped like needles in a junkies house and before you know it someone like Rome or Tokyo could climb into the box seat based on the membership choosing not to back Durban on first preferences.

And let's not forget how much the IOC loves to play second fiddle to the path trod by FIFA...not.

I'm sure there'll be restrictions in how much overt bid campaigning they'll be able to do at the session. Whatever official presentations the Durban team would be able to mount, I'd assume the other applicants would also be ensured equal time and lobby space - just as Durban, Rome and the others will share time and space at all other international sports administration meetings over the following two years. But they'll still have each and every IOC member there on the ground, in the only opportunity to do so these days within compliance of the IOC's rules.

It's a priceless opportunity. Whether it's decisive? Well, there's a lot of bidding and campaigning to play out yet.

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Its wonderful for IOC members to actually visit the city.

I have no doubt it will be a positive visit but there is always the risk that the exposure may not be good even if its a very small chance.

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If Rome's bid team

Well, yes...but as of 7/11, there are NO OFFICIAL bids yet for the 2020 race since that doesn't close until fall 2012. So if Rome were to make claims of unfair jockeying, then so are they being presumptive since the IOC has NOT officially recognized their bid. So how can an unrecognized unofficial bid be recognized if they are to admonish another 'unofficial' bid?

I think RSA's biggest mistake is jumping the gun too soon by picking Durban this early!! I would've waited until after next year's IOC pow-wow and kept the IOC and the rival bids guessing. But again, they didn't ask me. :(

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Well, yes...but as of 7/11, there are NO OFFICIAL bids yet for the 2020 race since that doesn't close until fall 2012. So if Rome were to make claims of unfair jockeying, then so are they being presumptive since the IOC has NOT officially recognized their bid. So how can an unrecognized unofficial bid be recognized if they are to admonish another 'unofficial' bid?

I think RSA's biggest mistake is jumping the gun too soon by picking Durban this early!! I would've waited until after next year's IOC pow-wow and kept the IOC and the rival bids guessing. But again, they didn't ask me. :(

I understand what you're saying Baron but let's face it; if CONI have backed Rome (as has been reported since May) then the Italians will be going ahead with lobbying now within the IOC as well as with NOCs and IFs. In terms of technical legalities then an unaccepted bid does clear both Durban and Rome from an ethical problem but I bet you London to a brick that Pescante and the Italians will fight tooth and nail to let their European brethren know how unfair it is that the South Africans will get the inside running with the 2011 session, plus maybe already are throwing in a few inducements regarding Rome's ability to cater to the more expensive tastes of the membership. Conversely as has been seen with the public statements before and immediately after the WC the South Africans and their allies are already marshalling the appropriate lobbyists for a Durban bid. Methinks the IOC membership has been eyeing off the juicy (potential) encouragements for 2020 as soon JR read out "Rio..." last year, and the lobbyists have been busy greasing palms and massaging egos.

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the South Africans will get the inside running with the 2011 session...

...then why did they pick Durban? :blink: Why didn't they go with HKG (which I think was the other bidder)?

They (the Euros) can't have their cake and eat it too. I mean the other blocs have to get their lucky breaks too..sometimes.

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...then why did they pick Durban? :blink: Why didn't they go with HKG (which I think was the other bidder)?

They (the Euros) can't have their cake and eat it too. I mean the other blocs have to get their lucky breaks too..sometimes.

Without knowing the ins and outs I wonder if Durban was picked as a 'me too' exercise to try and mollify the Africans with the likes of FIFA handing out World Cups etc. Plus there is absolutely no reason to suspect that the Europeans (or for that matter any IOC member) believes they can't have their cake and eat it too...remember that small issue called freedom of press as embodied in the negotiations with the Chinese for Beijing, and how when the hosts got uppity in Beijing JR and his crew caved in whilst still trumpeting the 'opening up of China thanks to the games'.

Right now I suspect the self interest behind every IOC member will be to extract what they can out of any bid for 2020 and whilst Durban has some rather tantalising attractions Rome will appeal to more and higher powered members with its political clout supported from CONI and the importance of the European bloc (almost half of the total membership). Throw in a North/South African split (as embodied in Nawal's little assault) and the FIFA influence and perhaps an Asian membership skewed towards a Japanese bid and Durban will have to really duchess the delegates next year to get past the static. Plus let's not forget the Koreans, Germans and French will be at the membership hammer and tongs with the 2018 vote, so who's to say how much notice the membership can give Durban's 2020 aspirations amongst the hurley burley.

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