When the Monday deadline came and passed for bids to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, only two cities had thrown their names into the hat: Durban, South Africa and Edmonton, Canada.
For Durban, the right to host, if won, would be the first time the event was hosted on the continent of Africa, despite several African countries being members of the Commonwealth of Nations. The city has its sporting focal point in the Golden Mile district and as one of the primary host cities of the 2010 World Cup of soccer with Moses Mabhida Stadium boasting a capacity of 62,760.
Its swimming experience is as the host of a FINA World Cup circuit stop from 2003-2009. Its primary swimming venue is in the Kings Park Sporting Precinct. The Kings Park Aquatic Center has a 50 meter pool plus an additional 26×33 meter pool, and is host to the KZN Aquatics Association: one of the country’s best-known swimming clubs. The pool has room for almost 5,000 spectators, which is just smaller than the temporary expansion to the Tollcross Aquatic Center in Glasgow that will host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Durban is also home to one of South Africa’s most famous modern-day athletes: swimmer Chad le Clos, who knocked off Michael Phelps in the 200 fly at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Canada, on the other hand, has hosted the Commonwealth Games 4 times already in its history, and Edmonton itself hosted in 1978. The history lies in that the 1978 games were the first referred to as the “Commonwealth Games,” dropping the word ‘British’ from its name as the British empire began to drift away in the late 70’s.
Those games were almost-universally viewed as an incredible success. The 1474 athletes participating were greater than any edition of this event before after the participation levels actually receded in 1974; and in terms of legacy, many of those venues from the 1978 Games are still in prevalent use. That includes the Kingsmen Aquatic Centre that has four pools and hosted the 2013 CanAm Championships.
Both are large cities with the infrastructure to handle such an influx of visitors: Durban is the busiest port in South Africa and has 3.5 million people, and Edmonton is having unprecedented growth, driven by the domestic energy industry, and is likely now pushing 1 million residents. With 6,700 athletes participating in 2010 in India, and even more expected in 2014 and 2018, the participation figures are exploding, but either city should be able to adapt.
Edmonton officials have told the local media today that they expect approximately a $1 billion investment to prepare for the games – which sounds like a significant sum to most of us, but is relatively minor when compared to, for example, hosting an Olympic Games (London spent approximately $14 billion).
They were swayed to make the bid when they looked at the model created by the Gold Coast, Australia, hosts of the 2018 games. The Gold Coast is hosting without using any federal funds – taking public funds only from state and municipal governments. This was tempting enough to elicit a bid.
Our hunch is that the event will wind up in South Africa – a country on a continent that has never hosted the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games, and a country in which there’s been a huge push to host these major events in recent years.
That is our hunch politically speaking, though in terms of logistics and actual ability to host, there is still much to be decided once bids are released publicly.
A full history of Commonwealth Games hosts is below, courtesy Wikipedia.
|Edition||Year||Host City||Host Nation||Start Date||End Date||Sports||Events||Nations||Competitors||Winning Team|
|British Empire Games|
|Inter-Empire Games||1911||London||England||12 May||June?||4||9||4||?||Canada|
|I||1930||Hamilton||Canada||16 August||23 August||6||59||11||400||England|
|II||1934||London||England||4 August||11 August||6||68||16||500||England|
|III||1938||Sydney||Australia||5 February||12 February||7||71||15||464||Australia|
|IV||1950||Auckland||New Zealand||4 February||11 February||9||88||12||590||Australia|
|British Empire and Commonwealth Games|
|V||1954||Vancouver||Canada||30 July||7 August||9||91||24||662||England|
|VI||1958||Cardiff||Wales||18 July||26 July||9||94||36||1122||England|
|VII||1962||Perth||Australia||22 November||1 December||9||104||35||863||Australia|
|VIII||1966||Kingston||Jamaica||4 August||13 August||9||110||34||1050||England|
|British Commonwealth Games|
|IX||1970||Edinburgh||Scotland||16 July||25 July||9||121||42||1383||Australia|
|X||1974||Christchurch||New Zealand||24 January||2 February||9||121||38||1276||Australia|
|XI||1978||Edmonton||Canada||3 August||12 August||10||128||46||1474||Canada|
|XII||1982||Brisbane||Australia||30 September||9 October||10||142||46||1583||Australia|
|XIII||1986||Edinburgh||Scotland||24 July||2 August||10||163||26||1662||England|
|XIV||1990||Auckland||New Zealand||24 January||3 February||10||204||55||2073||Australia|
|XV||1994||Victoria||Canada||18 August||28 August||10||217||63||2557||Australia|
|XVI||1998||Kuala Lumpur||Malaysia||11 September||21 September||15||213||70||3633||Australia|
|XVII||2002||Manchester||England||25 July||4 August||171||281||72||3679||Australia|
|XVIII||2006||Melbourne||Australia||15 March||26 March||162||245||71||4049||Australia|
|XIX||2010||Delhi||India||3 October||14 October||173||272||71||6700||Australia|
|XX||2014||Glasgow||Scotland||23 July||3 August||174||261||70|
|XXI||2018||Gold Coast||Australia||4 April||15 April|