We re­main com­mit­ted to Africa, says Com­mon­wealth Games chief

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LON­DON: Africa will host a Com­mon­wealth Games one day de­spite the blow of Dur­ban be­ing stripped of host­ing the 2022 edi­tion, David Grevem­berg, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of The Com­mon­wealth Games Fed­er­a­tion (CGF), has said.

Dur­ban lost the right to host the Games on Mon­day — just 18 months af­ter be­ing awarded them — when it failed to meet cri­te­ria laid down by the CGF, pri­mar­ily over costs.

“I wouldn’t want to make a judge­ment call,” Grevem­berg said on the side­lines of a brief­ing by 2018 Games hosts Gold Coast on Wed­nes­day.

“Dur­ban has hosted some great events, it is a fan­tas­tic city and are won­der­ful warm hosts with bright am­bi­tions and great as­pi­ra­tions. How­ever, it takes more than a mu­nic­i­pal­ity, it takes a na­tion to re­ally em­brace some­thing like this and to re­alise its full po­ten­tial.

“Tim­ing was one of the big­gest is­sues and also some of the cir­cum­stances of what South Africa is fac­ing right now we have to be re­spect­ful and cog­nisant of that.”

Grevem­berg, who was chief ex­ec­u­tive of Glas­gow for its suc­cess­ful host­ing of the 2014 Games, said now was not the time to walk away from Africa.

“We should not di­min­ish our sup­port and desert them. In­stead, we should con­tinue to help them re­alise their po­ten­tial and am­bi­tions,” he said.

“We re­main fully sup­port­ive of and com­mit­ted to a Games in Africa.”

Grevem­berg, who suc­ceeded in per­suad­ing Ja­maican ath­let­ics leg­end Usain Bolt to com­pete in his first ever Com­mon­wealth Games in Glas­gow, would not com­mit ei­ther to a time­line for se­lect­ing the re­place­ment for Dur­ban as hosts or the names of cities that had de­clared an in­ter­est.

Liver­pool, Birm­ing­ham and 2002 hosts Manch­ester have de­clared an in­ter­est — how­ever Gold Coast will not throw their hat in to the ring de­spite the mayor say­ing they might.

“We would look pretty greedy to have them again in 2022,” said Gold Coast chair­man Peter Beattie.

Grevem­berg said which­ever city hosted it, the core prin­ci­ples of the CGF — peace, sus­tain­abil­ity and pros­per­ity — would ap­ply.

“We will con­tinue with the al­ter­na­tive host to up­hold those prin­ci­ples. It is a dif­fer­ent con­text but they are as rel­e­vant as they were to Kuala Lumpur (1998 hosts), to Glas­gow, to Manch­ester and Mel­bourne (2006).”

Grevem­berg said Gold Coast would be an ideal host to pro­mote the ideals of the Com­mon­wealth Games.

“Gold Coast are a great plat­form to tell about our am­bi­tions,” he said. AFP

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