Johannesburg – What a great decision Durban made to use the arch over the Moses Mabhida Stadium as a revenue stream as well as an engineering feature. The view is spectacular and at R55 a throw it is cheap, but over the year it pays a significant percentage of costs.
With tourism flying, due mainly to the World Cup 2010 publicity, it is such a pity that we bottled it in going for the 2020 Olympics. Moses Mabhida would have been the main stadium and from the roof you can imagine the whole precinct and village so easily.
It would stretch to the Umgeni and the sea and the event would put Durban on the map as the third South African world city and also the centre of sport for the whole continent. It is extra-ordinary to think that a ruling party and government that has no problem justifying Nkandla and the arms deal could bottle it in the face of a decision that makes such sense regardless of the financial outlay.
We hear rumblings that another bid is in the offing. Well, the plan is already there if we can just find the guts to go for it.
Durban could easily host the best Olympics ever with visitors able to walk to almost all events and to enjoy the magnificent beaches where the water is perfect all year round.
Of course, now we have the decision to make golf part of the Olympics. It will be like tennis – a mere sideshow to the majors – but with millions of dedicated fans, I suppose the Tsars of Olympus couldn’t resist the television revenue.
Even this decision plays into Durban’s hands with our top course by a mile, Durban Country Club, actually on the very land that has been earmarked for Olympic and tourism glory.
Please guys, don’t miss a second opportunity.
You can see the golf course from the roof of the stadium and on television its characteristics are clear to any golfer.
It is unusual but still natural and not contrived, as is the case with almost all of the great courses. It is neither a links nor a parkland course and this is the beauty of it. It is almost unique. They have cut the rough and foliage back a bit for the Volvo Golf Champions this week and this is a pity. So what if top golfers have to battle a bit. Which are the most memorable tournaments? They are the high-scoring ones where the top players battle and fight, not the darts tournaments where everyone can shoot the lights out.
With the wind on Thursday and Friday, the “Old Lady” had the last laugh and made a mockery of predictions that she would be humbled.
The coverage on television is first class and would make any golfer, anywhere in the world, put the course on his wish list, and this is the point of it all. After a golf trip, anyone coming to Durban would become an ambassador and also want to return with family and friends.
Did we have enough information and reference numbers for international viewers? Time will tell.
By the way, our group met some of the golfers at a restaurant in uMhlanga during the week. I saw Darren Clarke and asked if I could bring over a friend who is a huge fan to say hello. The trimmed down Ulsterman insisted on coming over to our table and making a fuss of my friend and it made her day.
Nice to see that fame and wealth have not made him aloof in any way. Nice to see him playing well during the first two rounds.
We made a great decision on the Moses Mabhida Stadium; let’s do the same with the Olympics before it is too late.
*John Robbie hosts the Morning Drive show weekdays 6-9am on Talk Radio 702