(Reuters) – One of six African nations will bid to host the 2025 World Athletics Championships as the continent hopes to stage the global meet for a first time, the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) president Hamad Kalkaba Malboum has said.
African countries have previously held several major sporting events with South Africa hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Morocco staging an IAAF Diamond League event this year. Three nations also co-hosted the 2003 Cricket World Cup.
Malboum believes that the continent’s previous hosting record indicated that the biennial championships could also be held successfully in Africa.
“We are talking with Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco — those countries have the facilities,” Malboum told the BBC on Wednesday.
“I have very positive sounds from some of them.
“People said that Africa could not host the World Cup in football, but we did it very successfully.”
Malboum added that the governing body IAAF’s head Sebastian Coe was also in favor of a bid from within the continent.
“President Coe is supporting the fact that Africa could host the World Championships,” the 66-year-old added.
The Cameroonian said that African countries had now come to understand the importance of the event after showing little interest in hosting the championships in the past.
“I think many now realize that (staging the championships) could put the nation on the world map in terms of publicity and promote tourism, so there is a benefit from hosting the event. This was not the case in the past,” Malboum said.
Qatar and the U.S. will host the 2019 and 2021 championships respectively, with the decision on the hosts for the 2025 edition set to be announced in 2020.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru