Photo: kevinzim at www.flickr.com
Kenya will attempt to become the first African nation to host the Olympics by bidding for the 2024 Games, the country’s prime minister Raila Odinga has announced.Cape Town in South Africa reached the final bid stage in 2004 while Cairo in Egypt expressed interest for the 2008 Games, but no African country yet been given the honour fo hosting an Olympics .
However, Mr Odinga says hosting the Olympics would bring a psychological boost as well as “enormous benefits” for Kenya from investment in infrastructure.
“Kenya had the confidence as far back as 1968 to consider bidding for the Olympics,” he told the FInancial Times.
“That is the spirit we need to recapture. We need to bring back that confidence and say we can do it. It is necessary to take a look back at where are coming from and where we want to go, because we have been drifting for too long.”
A Kenyan bid is sure to be welcomed by the International Olympic Committee as it looks to spread the Games to all continents, with Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro set to play host to South America’s first ever Olympics in 2016.
Early indications suggest any Kenyan bid would face stiff competition from US cities, including New York and San Francisco, while other countries thinking about bidding for 2024 include Argentina, Morocco and Egypt.
Durban is also a possible 2024 bidder after Jacques Rogge, the IOC president, said he would like to have seen an African country bid for the 2020 Games.
The shortlist for the 2020 Olympics consists of Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid.
The IOC said it was not aware of Kenya’s interest but added: “The [IOC] president has made it absolutely clear that we would love a good bid from Africa.”
Kenya currently sits 27th in the London 2012 medal table with seven medals including golds for Ezekiel Kemboi in the 3,000m steeplechase and David Rudisha in the 800m.
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