Durban, South Africa has formally submitted its bid host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, presenting their bid book to the Commonwealth Games Federation in London on Monday.
The City highlighted their “compact and unique” concept that will boost South Africa as well as the wider region and a tradit
ional African vibe was another central theme, with the Opening Ceremony scheduled to take place on Nelson Mandela ‘s birthday – July 18. .
Following the recent withdrawal of Edmonton, Canada last month, this leaves Durban as the only candidate city. So subject to its plans meeting the approval of the CGF Evaluation Commission, Chaired by Louise Martin CBE, and gaining the support of CGAs at the General Assembly in Auckland on 2 September, Durban looks set to ensure the Games will finally be hosted in Africa for the first time in the event’s 80 year history.
The bid, which has the full backing at all levels of the South African Government, has 80 per cent of proposed venues focused within a 2.5 kilometres radius of the Moses Mabhida Stadium, where both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as the athletics competition, would take place. Similar to Glasgow, the plan is to largely use existing facilities.
Also based on the Glasgow model will be the Athletes’ Village, a new development that would see buildings redeveloped into family housing post Games.
However a detailed study of the submission showed that two sports have changed from the Gold Coast 2018 programme with Basketball and Gymnastics dropped to be replaced by Judo, returning after what was a successful 2014 Games for Scotland, and Beach Volleyball making its debut at the Games. Also dropped are a number of optional sport disciplines, Track Cycling, Diving and Smallbore Shooting which have been cornerstones of the sports programme for many years, with regular Scottish participation and success.
Track Cycling has featured in every edition since 1934 and has proved extremely popular with spectators at recent Games, with many Commonwealth nations seen as the powerhouses of world track cycling. For Scotland recent success include Sir Chris Hoy who after making his major Games debut in 1998, gained his first international title with Gold at the 2002 Games in the Kilo andanother Gold four years later in Melbourne in the Team Sprint. Last year Neil Fachie and Craig MacLean won double Gold in Glasgow and rising star Katie Archibald took a Bronze.
Road Cycling and Mountain Biking remain on the proposed programme of events for Durban 2022, with mountain biking set to be the event furthest from the host city, 80 kilometres away in Pietermaritzburg on the course on which the 2013 World Championships were held.
At this stage with a maximum of 17 sports named, no plans appear to be listed for equally popular Gymnastics, first introduced in 1978 and included at every Games since 1990 with considerable success for Scotland in 2014 courtesy of the Men’s Team, Daniel Purvis and Daniel Keatings.
Also missing is Full-bore Shooting, a traditional event in the Commonwealth Games which has featured since its introduction in 1966. It is the only Games event in which men and women compete against each other or as mixed pairs and Scotland has seen medal success at the last two Games.
Also proposed is the introduction of Wheelchair Basketball, with no further detail of Para-Sport disciplines in Athletics, Swimming, Lawn Bowls or Powerlifting.
Commenting on the bid CGS Chairman Michael Cavanagh said: “We are delighted that Durban looks well placed to host the 2022 Games. Back in 2007 when Glasgow was bidding against Abuja, Nigeria we were very conscious that the Games had never been hosted in Africa and that it was rightly only a question of time before they would go there.
“There are many really good aspects of Durban’s bid. Every bidding city has choices and compromises to make. Having been a Games bidder and host we realise how difficult it is to decide the final programme. There are a lot of different factors from capital and future operating costs of any new venues, to delivering home team success, to ensuring the programme is attractive to a wide range of countries to compete at, along with national and international broadcast, sponsor and spectator appeal.
“However having seen the proposed programme we’re surprised and disappointed with some aspects of the sports programme for obvious reasons.
“We had our best ever medal haul in Gymnastics at Glasgow 2014 and are hopeful that Scottish Gymnastics will keep producing gymnasts inspired by those Games, who can win medals in the future.
“Equally, with the strong tradition we have in track cycling and now with a world-class velodrome in Glasgow where the Scottish Cycling programme is based, we have high hopes for medal success in that discipline at future Games.”
Jon Doig, Commonwealth Games Scotland Chief Executive added: “Over the next few months we will have discussions with our member sports and other Commonwealth Games Associations to assess the impact of Durban’s proposals.
“It is also important that the sports affected make representation through their international federations. They need to show just how much they value having their sports or disciplines in the Games. Their ability to influence the CGF and Durban is perhaps as great as any single CGA.”
The Commonwealth Games sport programme currently consists of 10 core sports – athletics, badminton, boxing, hockey, lawn bowls, netball, men’s rugby sevens, squash, swimming and weightlifting – with each host selecting up to seven others from a list of optional sports.
Following the completion of the quadrennial sports review by the CGF, potential changes to the programme will be considered at September’s General Assembly.
Click here to watch the video of the Durban 2022 bid submission featuring interviews with David Grevemberg, Commonwealth Games Federation Chief Executive; Filkile Mbalula, South African Minister for Sport and Recreation; James Nxumalo, the Mayor of Durban; and Cameron van der Burgh, Olympic gold medallist and world record holder for the 100m breaststroke.