In an historic ceremony featuring South African cultural performers, the South African Minister for Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, presented the official candidature files outlining the city’s aspirations to host the first-ever Commonwealth Games in Africa to HRH Prince Imran, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation.
Commonwealth and Olympic medal-winning athletes including swimmer Cameron van der Burgh, Para Athlete Dyan Buis and triple jumper Khotso Mokoena joined civic and sports leaders from South Africa and Durban for the celebratory event in Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor of the City of London.
The Bid will now undergo a thorough review by the CGF Evaluation Commission, which is chaired by Louise Martin CBE, Honorary Secretary of the CGF. The Commission will submit its findings to the CGF membership who will vote on the Durban Bid at their General Assembly which takes place in Auckland, New Zealand, exactly six months from today.
The Commonwealth Games is one of the world’s great sporting and cultural celebrations, bringing together the nations, territories and citizens of the Commonwealth in a celebration of sport and friendship. More than 4,500 athletes from 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth took part in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, which was watched by more than one billion people around the world. The 2018 Commonwealth Games will take place in Gold Coast, Australia.
HRH Prince Imran, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said:
"Today is a special day for our friends from Durban and South Africa - and, indeed, all of us in the Commonwealth sporting movement as we share the first steps of the journey towards the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The Commonwealth Games as a world sporting event and the Commonwealth Games Federation as a global sporting movement are both primed for action and looking forward to an impactful future with great optimism and great ambitions. We recognise our unique ability to connect, empower and create a lasting legacy for nations, cities, communities and individuals through the world-class sporting stage that is the Commonwealth Games. And we recognise too, our obligations to make the most of that wonderful potential.
We wish Team Durban every success, look forward to hearing your plans and sharing your ambitions to write your place in sporting history as the hosts of the first Commonwealth Games in Africa."
David Grevemberg, Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation said:
Our success as members of the Commonwealth sporting community will be forged through us working together and through upholding our shared values of Humanity, Equality and Destiny.
"I’m delighted to invite the Durban Bid Team and all citizens of Durban, Kwazulu Natal, and South Africa to share that journey, taking a leading role in a vibrant 21^st century Commonwealth.
Through our shared passion for athletes and sport, individuals and communities can achieve their full potential and realise their dreams for themselves and for others."
South African Minister for Sport and Recreation, the Honorable Fikile Mbalula said:
"The South African Government fully supports the Durban 2022 Commonwealth Games Bid. South Africa is a country that took destiny into its own hands, brought about equality among its people and put humanity at the centre of its national ethos.
Over the past 20 years of South Africa's democracy, Sport has played a huge role in uniting a once divided people. South Africa is also home to some of the world’s leading athletes who, for decades, have been performing and entertaining sport enthusiasts on the world stage.
They continue today to inspire generations through their great display of excellence and we strongly believe that it is time South Africa provided the stage for them to showcase this talent on home soil, at the place that made the impossible, possible."
Mayor of Durban James Nxumalo said:
"Durban is the Gateway to Africa with a legacy in sports. Home to approximately 3.5 million people, its inhabitants are united in their great diversity by a determination to make theirs a socially cohesive, sustainable and economically vibrant city.
The Games will assist the eThekwini Municipality’s Long Term 2030 Development Plan, which aims to make Durban Africa’s most Caring and Liveable City."
Mark Alexander, Chairman of the Durban 2022 Bid Team said:
"The Bid Committee of the City of Durban is pursuing a dream. It is a dream that will see Africa host the very first Commonwealth Games where some of the finest athletes of the world compete for gold and glory; where the real values of the Commonwealth - resonate with the indomitable spirit of heroes past and champions of the future.
Our mission to London was simple: to present an unsurpassed Bid document that will at once captivate the Commonwealth and then, rightfully allow the people of South Africa to be your host. Durban 2022 is ready to inspire!"