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Spain eyes 2020 Olympic bid desperately

Source: Xinhua - Wed 10th Jul 2013
Spain eyes 2020 Olympic bid desperately

Madrid and Spain desperately need to be chosen to host the 2020 Olympic Games in order to avoid a crisis in the country's sport.

That is one of the conclusions which can be drawn for an event celebrated in Madrid on Wednesday by 3 Spanish members of the International Olympic Committee, Jose Peruera, Marisol Casado and Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr.

The trio spoke at a sporting breakfast for the Madrid 2020 bid organized by Europa Press, which comes at a moment when the economic crisis was once again shown to be threatening sport in Spain.

The day before it was announced that Atletico Madrid's handball team would disappear, just 6 months after Spain were crowned as world handball champions in Madrid, while the Euskaltel-Euskadi cycling team, which is currently riding in the Tour de France, advised it has just 45 days to find new sponsors or also run the risk of disappearing.

Finally, top Spanish football sala team, Caja Segovia also announced on Tuesday that financial issues had forced it to withdraw from the top flight of the country's football sale league.

"The Olympic Games are the only way out for Spanish sport," warned Samaranch, the son of the famous former IOC President.

"If we are not able to get the Games, we are going to have serious problems," he warned, in words backed up by Jose Peruera.

"We will have to replant the entire situation of financing the different sporting federations is Madrid is not chosen," said Peruera.

The good news for Spain is that all 3 IOC members were upbeat about Madrid's changes of beating the challenges of fellow candidate cities, Tokyo and Istanbul and of Madrid being chosen at the 3rd attempt after having failed in bids for the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.

Samaranch said the economic crisis Spain is suffering should not go against the Madrid bid, given that the country should start to come out of the crisis in 2014 (2015 according to predictions issued by the IMF on Tuesday), while 2020 was a long way in the future.

He also highlighted that the Madrid bid relies mainly on existing infrastructures and this was a model of what future bids should offer.

Marisol Casado meanwhile was slightly dismissive of the Istanbul bid, saying that should the Turkish city be chosen, it would mean starting preparations "from zero," which may not be the best idea after Rio de Janeiro. She also expressed surprise that the Istanbul video shown recently at the presentations of the 3 bids to the IOC in Lausanne on July 3 and 4, had not shown any women wearing veils in what is mainly a Muslim country.

Meanwhile the recent disturbances will have done nothing to help the Istanbul cause, while the city also falls into the problem of many Asians not seeing it as an 'Asian' candidate city, while the European block don't view it as European either.

Samaranch also gave an insight into how cities will try to win the votes of delegates when the final decision is taken in Buenos Aires in September.

"You need an adequate answer for all of the delegates. Each of them have their own DNA and you have to be able to reach that," he said, while Casado had a warning for any overconfidence.

"Nobody expected Buenos Aires to be chosen for the youth games. Once the candidacies have been passed as 'Apt' there is little between them. You need to show other highlights rather than just technical details and show just what sets Madrid apart," she said.