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Sports

Durban organises 2022 Commonwealth Games

media A beach in Durban AFP

Durban is the first ever African city to organise the Commonwealth Games that were first held 85 years ago. The announcement was no surprise, since Durban was the only candidate for the 2022 hosting rights after Canada's Edmonton withdrew in February, but people danced in the streets nevertheless.

Newly elected Commonwealth Games Federation president Louise Martin, who led a commission that backed Durban's bid after examining it in fine detail, expressed delight the Games would finally be held in Africa.

"It is a historic decision for all of us and one that my commission completely endorses," she said.

Organisers, campaigning under the slogan "Ready to Inspire", said 90 per cent of the facilities were already in place, with most of them within two kilometres of the city centre.

They have described the event as an economic "game changer" that is expected to boost tourism and jobs in the Indian Ocean city of more than three million people.

The multi-sport event held every four years was first organised in 1930 as the British Empire Games.

Britain has hosted six editions, Australia and Canada four each, New Zealand three, and Jamaica, Malaysia and India one each.

Africa has always missed out but sports officials have been inspired by South Africa's successful hosting of the world's three biggest single-sport events: the football, cricket and rugby union World Cups.

To keep costs down, South Africa's government said last week that the Durban Games would use infrastructure from the 2010 football World Cup, including the 85,000-seat Moses Mabhida Stadium.

The Games will open on 18 July 2022, a national holiday marking the birthday of South African icon Nelson Mandela, who died two years ago at age 95.

The Games will last for 12 days.

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