South Africa will take its first steps toward bidding for the 2024 Olympics after the London Games, IOC executive board member Sam Ramsamy said Wednesday.
The South African told The Associated Press that his national Olympic committee will begin a process that involves talking to the government, and ''hopefully that process will lead to us bidding for 2024.''
''We are waiting until after we return from London now because at the moment our total concentration and full concentration is on the games, preparing our team for London,'' Ramsamy said. ''As soon as we come back, we will definitely make an announcement then. We need to discuss with the government.''
The east coast city of Durban is tipped to be South Africa's candidate for an Olympic bid.
South Africa could face strong competition for 2024, with the increased possibility of an American bid after the U.S. Olympic Committee and the IOC reached agreement on a new revenue-sharing agreement last month.
Paris also may launch a bid because 2024 is the 100th anniversary of the last Summer Olympics in the French capital. The IOC has said consistently since 2010 that it would welcome an Olympic bid from South Africa, but stressed it would be judged on merit.
Ramsamy said there were South African cities interested in hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2022, in what could be a dress rehearsal for a possible first Olympics in Africa two years later. Ramsamy wouldn't name the cities, but said they are ''keen.''
Boosted by the country's successful hosting of Africa's first soccer World Cup, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee said in 2010 that it would bid for the 2020 Olympics.
However, South Africa's government decided in 2011 that it wouldn't support a bid for 2020 because of pressing social issues. The government indicated that 2020 was too early and would instead be more receptive to a later bid.
Despite the obvious desire to bid for 2024, Ramsamy said there wouldn't be any lobbying at the London Games in July and August because of the process currently under way in South Africa to choose a host city.
The International Olympic Committee last month picked Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid as its candidates for 2020. A decision on the winning city will be made at the IOC Session in Argentina in September 2013.