• Seb Coe urges Sports Fraternity to support African Olympic bid

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  • Sebastian Coe urges Sports Fraternity to support  African Olympic Games bid. Coe was in Tanzania for a London 2012 Games global sports development programme.Sebastian Coe urges Sports Fraternity to support African Olympic Games bid. Coe was in Tanzania for a London 2012 Games global sports development programme.
Feb 08, 2012-

Hosting an Olympics in Africa…is a thought that is often dismissed as completely far- fetched within both the sports and political precincts.For a continent that is struggling to meet its population’s basic necessities, allocating bursting billion dollar budgets is unimaginable.

But Sebastian Coe, the leader of the organizing committee for the London Olympics takes a different approach to this seemingly herculean task. He belongs to the school of thought that Africa has come of age.

“It is absolutely essential at some stage that Africa hosts the Olympic games and this would be my dream,” Coe told sportsnewsarena.com in a telephone interview Wednesday from Tanzania where he met students participating in a London 2012 Games global sports development programme in Dar es Salaam.

“This should be the ambition of the world sports family to help deliver an Olympic games to a continent that has contributed immensely to the Games,”

Being at the helm of the London games team whose planning and budget took a serious hit from the global financial crisis, the former middle distance legend clearly understands the challenge of staging the games.

“It is a wholly laudable ambition for any African nation given the big challenge to host the games even for us in London it has not easy. And it is possibly right for Africa to dream and think of hosting the games especially after staging a successful World Cup finals in South Africa.”

Four African countries: Egypt, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa have in the past indicated their willingness to host the Olympic games with only the latter launching a bid for the 2004 Olympic games. Cape Town has been flaunted as a possible candidate city for the 2024 Games following the country’s success in staging the 2010 Football World cup.The Kenyan Government in 2005 had announced plans to bid for the 2016 Olympics to be hosted in Nairobi.

But Coe pegs the timeline and success of any African city bid on the International sporting community willingness to prop up the candidate.

“It is all about taking sports around. Africa should also look at also hosting the World athletics championships soon.”

The former middle distance legend is tipping African athletes to continue their domination at the Olympic stadium.

“As always African athletes especially Kenyans should dominate at most of the events as much as we hope that our own athletes like Mo Farah can win an Olympic title at home.”

“I am looking forward to some impressive performances by the Kenyan athletes. They are extraordinary, the likes of Kipchoge Keino, Mike Boit inspired me to take up running,” added the former 800m and 1500 champion. He won the 1500m Olympic title twice in Moscow and Los Angeles and bagged two silver medals in the same events in the 800m race.

As a former world 800 World record holder, the two lap event will be of great interest to him keenly watching if the ‘immensely talented’ David Rudisha can add on the Olympic title to his growing list of global honours.

“I met him at the Olympic park a few months ago and I know he is one of the medal prospects for Kenya.” “Being an Olympic year I know he is more focused on this than lowering his record this season.”

The Kenyan team have chosen Bristol University for the Olympic and Paralympic athletes training in the run up to the Olympic games. With barely six months to go Coe believes the country is in good shape to host a memorable games, with the main constructions works almost complete.

“A lot of temporary venues are yet to be complete including the overlay structures on the permanent ones but we are in good shape but just need to tighten up a few more areas like security and transport.”

There was a big uproar on the tickets allocations but for Coe this is proof of the interest and popularity of the Games in London.

“It is the first time that all the tickets for all events have been sold out as event in London has been a high demand. Every event other than football has been sold out and with this record it was not possible to satisfy everyone.”

Coe who is also the IAAF Vice President travels to Morocco Thursday where he will meet national Olympic officials and athletes, led by IOC executive board member Nawal El Moutawakel and Hicham El Guerrouj. He is scheduled to visit Kenya later in the year.


 Evelyn Watta

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