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Kenya - African countries stand a higher chance of staging future Olympic Games if proposed changes to bidding procedures are adopted by the ruling body, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said.
Bach, who made a whistle-stop tour on Sunday of three African countries - South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia - after attending the African Youth Games in Gaberone, Botswana, said his wish was to see the continent stage the world's most prestigious sports competition.
“Africa has produced excellent athletes and yet has not staged the Olympic games. We (at the IOC) would be happy to see a feasibly bid from the continent,” Bach told Reuters in Eldoret, a city famed for producing world class runners some 350 kilometres north west of Kenyan capital Nairobi where he visited fellow IOC member and Kenyan athletics great Kipchoge Keino.
“As you know, since my election as IOC president, we are already discussing changes to bidding procedure under the framework of Olympic Agenda 2020 where we want to open doors to more cities and more countries to bid to organise the Games,” Bach said.
He did not give specifics of the changes to bidding and organisation of the games, but there have been murmurs of discontent, especially from the African countries, over the idea of staging some 28 disciplines in a single city as opposed to FIFA World Cup, which takes place across several cities of one country.
Sometimes, the world's most watched football competition has been co-hosted by two countries.
Bach paid tribute to Botswana for staging a successful competition for the youth and especially for the attendance of all African nations, including the recently-independent and strife-torn South Sudan.
“Olympism is not just about great athletes. It is also about providing education and opportunity for the youth of the world to secure their future and also make the world a better place,” he said.
He invited African youths to Olympic Youth Games in Nanjing, China, in August.
“This is another great opportunity for African youths to showcase their talent and also join other youths of the world to share and learn about Olympic ideals while competing,” he said.