Durban Deep: South African City Stripped Of 2022 Commonwealth Games Hosting Rights

Chad le Clos is working on surfacing once more a winner but he won't get the chance to do so at a home Commonwealths, Durban having been stripped os its 2022 hosting rights - by Craig Lord

Durban in South Africa has been stripped of its host status for the 2022 Commonwealth Games after it failed to deliver on promises to organisers, including signing contracts on deadline. The news about the Games after next came as Queen Elizabeth launched the baton relay for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on a sunny early spring day in London. The multi-sports event will takes place on Australia’s Gold Coast, where organisers declared themselves Games ready 18 months out in spring Down Under last year.

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Two conflicting emotions entered my mind when I first encountered this story.

The first was that of sadness coming from someone who still considers himself at least half South African. The other was that of “at least they’ve pulled the plug early !!”; in otherwise this was little surprise given the South African economy and the parlous state of sports governance.

Is it time to finally “stick a fork” in the whole concept of Comm Games ? I’ve attended a number of them in the past and whilst, for the most part, they’ve been enjoyable events I’m struggling to find a convincing argument for either their relevance or sustainability.

Realistically, who are the Comm nations with the capacity to host such events ? The Home Nations, Australia, Canada, NZ then Malaysia & Singapore. But is there the public support in said countries/their major cities for such bids ?

We are already seeing an increasing number of potential Olympic candidates withdraw due to lack of public support and there hasn’t exactly been a rush to bid for recent CG. Apparently Birmingham & Liverpool are making noises about “stepping in” but what do the public think ?

CAN hasn’t hosted since 1994, NZL since 1990; is there any real interest from major cities in these nations ? The commercial interest/backing in next year’s event has, shall we say, been muted.

Is there a “sporting” case to be made for them ? I’m struggling to see a particularly convincing one. There are probably 3 sports where the competition standard can legitimately be seen as “world championship” level; namely netball, lawn bowls and rugby sevens. Only the latter is an Olympic sport and with all of these sports, they have their own world championships/professional circuits.

As for swimming, whilst we could conceivably see a number of Olympic/ World medallists competing; the depth in most events is shallow at best. The Home Nations have Euros in the same year; AUS/CAN/NZL/RSA have Pan Pacs; one can argue convincingly that these are of a distinctly higher level of competition and should be prioritised accordingly.

AUS has been making increasingly serious investigations towards becoming part of the Asian Games (in some sports, AUS is already part of Asian confederations). Perhaps this is already telling us something ?

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