South Africa Vs. Canada For Rights to Host 2022 Commonwealth Games

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 England London England 12 May June? 4 9 4  ? Canada
I 1930 Canada Hamilton Canada 16 August 23 August 6 59 11 400 England
II 1934 England London England 4 August 11 August 6 68 16 500 England
III 1938 Australia Sydney Australia 5 February 12 February 7 71 15 464 Australia
IV 1950 New Zealand Auckland New Zealand 4 February 11 February 9 88 12 590 Australia
British Empire and Commonwealth Games
V 1954 Canada Vancouver Canada 30 July 7 August 9 91 24 662 England
VI 1958 Wales Cardiff Wales 18 July 26 July 9 94 36 1122 England
VII 1962 Australia Perth Australia 22 November 1 December 9 104 35 863 Australia
VIII 1966 Jamaica Kingston Jamaica 4 August 13 August 9 110 34 1050 England
British Commonwealth Games
IX 1970 Scotland Edinburgh Scotland 16 July 25 July 9 121 42 1383 Australia
X 1974 New Zealand Christchurch New Zealand 24 January 2 February 9 121 38 1276 Australia
Commonwealth Games
XI 1978 Canada Edmonton Canada 3 August 12 August 10 128 46 1474 Canada
XII 1982 Australia Brisbane Australia 30 September 9 October 10 142 46 1583 Australia
XIII 1986 Scotland Edinburgh Scotland 24 July 2 August 10 163 26 1662 England
XIV 1990 New Zealand Auckland New Zealand 24 January 3 February 10 204 55 2073 Australia
XV 1994 Canada Victoria Canada 18 August 28 August 10 217 63 2557 Australia
XVI 1998 Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 11 September 21 September 15 213 70 3633 Australia
XVII 2002 England Manchester England 25 July 4 August 171 281 72 3679 Australia
XVIII 2006 Australia Melbourne Australia 15 March 26 March 162 245 71 4049 Australia
XIX 2010 India Delhi India 3 October 14 October 173 272 71 6700 Australia
XX 2014 Scotland Glasgow Scotland 23 July 3 August 174 261 70
XXI 2018 Australia Gold Coast Australia 4 April 15 April


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8 years ago

Edmonton has a hosting tradition second to none in Canada. I hope they win the bid and build/renovate the venues to keep us with top class facilities.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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