The devastating blow suffered to this nation’s sporting pride after Durban lost the 2022 Commonwealth Games is a stigma that will live with us for some time.
The KwaZulu-Natal resort was slated to be the first African city to host what has become known as the “Friendly Games” and was seen as a test pad for a concerted bid to bring the Olympics to South Africa.
Confirmation that the Games would not be staged in Durban came from South Africa Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) president Gideon Sam. But Sam may have been somewhat disingenuous by claiming “Durban did not withdraw”.
At the heart of it, the ambitious project, one abandoned by Canada’s Edmonton because of the costs involved, leaving Durban as the sole bidder, was sunk for exactly the same reason. Quite simply, neither this country nor Durban itself could afford the billions it would have cost to stage the multisport showpiece on top of the estimated R118 million spent on the bid itself.
Which begs the question: why bid at all?
Even with the lure of the Olympics as the eventual goal, Sascoc must surely have been aware that no Olympic Games has turned a profit since Los Angeles in 1984.