South African city not able to cover the cost of building a new velodrome and will likely omit track cycling events which remain optional events

The Commonwealth Games will likely go ahead without track cycling in 2022, as host city Durban are unable meet the costs in building a new velodrome in the South African city.

Durban was named as the host for the 2022 games on Wednesday, despite having admitted that track cycling would likely be omitted should it be awarded the games back in March. Track cycling has been a feature of the Commonwealth Games since 1934 but continues to be an optional sport.

Athletics, badminton, men’s boxing, hockey, lawn bowls, netball, men’s rugby sevens, squash, swimming and weightlifting are the core sports that must appear, with each host selecting seven others of their choice.

Durban has yet to confirm its optional selection and track cycling remains a possibility if funding to build the velodrome, which would be located around 80km north-west of Durban in Pietermaritzberg, can be found.

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Commonwealth Games Federation vice president, Gideon Sam indicated that South African officials want the UCI to contribute to the building of the velodrome if it wants to see track cycling events in 2022, telling reporters that he had already met with president Brian Cookson to discuss the issue.

“I met the president of the International Cycling Union and told him that if he wanted track cycling at 2022 then he needed to come to the party and help us build a velodrome,” Sam said.

“We cannot afford to build a facility that will cost us millions and not be used.

“The city of Pietermaritzburg is pretty keen to have a park where a velodrome could be built so on the table right now is ‘come to the party cycling federation and the city of Pietermaritzburg will respond’.

“Until such time we cannot entertain a velodrome in South Africa.”

The UCI told Cycling Weekly that it was in talks to try and get track cycling included in the Games: “Track cycling has always been a very successful part of the Commonwealth Games and the UCI is in very constructive dialogue with the Commonwealth Games Federation to find a solution for its inclusion in the 2022 Games now that it has been awarded to Durban.”

Australia, England and New Zealand topped the track medal table at the last Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, where the repercussions will likely be most felt if track events are left out in 2022.

  • Cairngorm

    Grass track?

  • Geoff Waters

    Durban has a 333m outdoor velodrome which was built in 1983. However, I understand that a British premier league football club has set up a football academy on the site. Perhaps the football club should provide a new Commonwealth Games velodrome. The idea of a new velodrome in neighbouring city, Pietermaritzburg, is a good one as the area is now an important cycling centre, having hosted UCI mtb events. Incidentally, it is to be hoped that the UCI, specifically President Cookson, will take note of the negative effect on globalising track cycling of the exhorbitant cost of constructing indoor velodromes which subsequently prove unsustainable. To call UCI track championships ‘world championships’ remains a misnomer.
    Geoff Waters, Durban, South Africa.