By Duncan Mackay
June 2 - South Africa are planning to launch a campaign to host the 2022 Commonweatlh Games after the disappointment of being forced to drop plans to bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics because of lack of Government support, they announced today.
The event has been never staged in Africa and a bid from South Africa will be welcomed by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), keen to take it to new markets.
"Immediately after the announcement of where the 2018 Commonwealth Games will be held, we will go in for 2022," said Gideon Sam, the President of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASOC),
"It has never been to Africa and so we want to put in a bid."
The host city for the 2018 Commonwealth Games is due to be chosen by the CGF at its annual meeting in St Kitts and Nevis on November 11 where the candidates will be the Gold Coast and Hambantota.
South Africa was widely expected to bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics following the success of last year's FIFA World Cup but Jacob Zuma's Government decided not to back a bid, saying it wanted to focus on delivering basic services such as water and electricity to all its citizens.
But Sam said there was nothing to stop the country bidding for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Sam did not specify which city South Africa proposed to put forward but Durban, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth had all hoped to bid for the Olympics while Cape Town had also initially expressed interest before withdrawing because of the costs involved.
He told reporters at the 30-day countdown to the 123rd International Olympic Committee Session to be held in Durban in July that South Africa had previously stepped back to allow other countries to bid for the Commonwealth Games.
"In the past we stood back for Nigeria [Abuja] but they lost out to Glasgow [for the right to host the 2014 Games]," he said.
"This time we have said there will be no horse-trading, we will put up our hand and see how we go."
Sam added that a bid for the Commonwealth Games would not be hampered by the same issues that affected a possible Olympics bid.
"The scale of the Commonwealth Games is a lot smaller than the Olympics," he said.
"We will have to have buy-in from a host city and from Government, because of security issues, but we are not talking about the expense of an Olympics."
South Africa's decision to bid for the Games will be a blow to several cities in Britain, including Birmingham and Cardiff, who have both expressed an interest in bidding for 2022.
The CGF are due to choose the host city for 2022 at its meeting in 2015.
Sam hopes that by successfully hosting the Commonwealth Games it could be the platform for a bid for the Olympics and Paralympics.
But he warned that the Government must be fully behind it.
"Remember when we started this whole process, we said that this is Government, they can host it and not the National Olympic Committee," Sam said.
"So we were always cautious about running ahead of the whole process.
"That's what we said, once Government shows appetite for the games, we will then be able to."