Coe: My ‘dream’ to see Africa stage Olympics
Sebastian Coe wants to help bring the Olympics to Africa for the
Coe, the middle-distance great who heads the organizing
committee for the London Games, said Africa is a powerhouse in
running events and deserves to host a world championships in
athletics, first, and eventually the Olympics.
”We want to build a global capacity in sports, and of course
the Olympic Games need to come to Africa at some point,” Coe told
The Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday. ”It’s
absolutely essential at some point. It’s a continent that’s
contributed tremendously to athletics.”
Coe said it would be inappropriate to suggest a timeline in
which an African country might host the Olympics, but said global
sports bodies need to move away from traditional venues. He said
international federations likely will have to be more ”hands-on”
in helping a country that hasn’t hosted a major event before.
”Like many around the world, it would also be a dream for me to
see the games staged on this continent,” Coe said during his visit
to Tanzania, where he met students as part a global sports
development program linked with the London Games.
South Africa considered launching an Olympic bid following the
success of the 2010 World Cup but decided not to try for the 2020
Summer Games. It is expected to bid for 2024. Cape Town bid
unsuccessfully for the 2004 Olympics.
Coe said FIFA had to approach the soccer tournament in South
Africa – the first World Cup on the continent – in a slightly
different way, but ”they were still magnificent
He thanked former South African President Nelson Mandela for
supporting London’s successful bid and said Mandela has an open
invitation to visit the London Games if is able to travel.
Coe said he expects African runners to dominate running events
from the 800 meters up to the marathon in London, though he hopes
Mo Farah – a Somali-born Briton and world champion in the 5,000 –
”It is quite likely that African athletes will dominate at all
those distances,” Coe said, adding: ”If you look at the (African)
contribution made, it’s extraordinary.”
Coe next travels to Morocco.