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Budapest, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Paris, Rome bid for 2024 Games

Budapest, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Paris, Rome bid for 2024 Games

LAUSANNE: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday named Budapest, Hamburg in Germany, Los Angeles, Paris and Rome as the final candidates for the 2024 Olympics.

The winning bid will be announced after a vote by the IOC session in the Peruvian capital Lima in September 2017.

IOC president Thomas Bach said there were five “outstanding cities” in the race for the Games.

“What we see are five really highly qualified candidate cities,” Bach told reporters. He added that the contest for 2024 would be “strong and fascinating.”

The announcement of the five cities was made hours after the midnight Tuesday deadline for bids.

Toronto and the Azerbaijan capital of Baku had considered entering but finally decided against, leaving Los Angeles and Paris as the two early frontrunners.

Toronto’s mayor John Tory announced only on Tuesday that the Canadian city would not bid because of financial uncertainties. Meanwhile, Bach said that Baku — which hosted the inaugural European Games in June -- could return and try for the 2028 Games.

Hungary has never hosted an Olympics though the central European country is one of the top 10 nations in the Olympics’ overall medals table.

The port city beat Berlin to become the German candidate for 2024. But the city will hold a referendum on the bid in November. Organisers are confident it will be approved.

The Californian city (Los Angeles) hosted the 1932 and 1984 Olympics. “This is something that is in our DNA,” said mayor Eric Garcetti. But the city was only chosen after Boston pulled out because of major divisions over the cost.

Paris wants to host the Games on the 100th anniversary of the last time the Summer Olympics were in Paris. But it is still to get over the disappointment of losing the 2012 Games to London and two other failed campaigns.

The 1960 Games hosts Rome could use the historic Colosseum monument as a venue if chosen and has launched a slick campaign for votes. But it pulled out of the race for 2020 over the cost.

For the first time all five will be put to the IOC vote -- previously a shortlist was drawn up for IOC members.

The contest will also be the first completely run under the IOC’s Agenda 2020 reforms aimed at making bid contests less expensive and bureaucratic.

The IOC wants to make Olympic Games more sustainable through the use of existing venues. But it also imposes new conditions, including hosts having to guarantee there will be no sexual discrimination and ensuring the freedom of the media to report on the Games.

Candidates will have to give a convincing presentation on the legacy to be left by the event.

“The whole procedure is much more transparent from the very beginning of the invitation phase,” Bach said of the new bid rules.

“What we wanted to achieve there in Olympic Agenda 2020 is more diversity and more creativity in the competition,” he added.

With some potential cities, notably Boston in the United States, put off by the costs, the IOC will contribute $1.7 billion to staging the event.

Bach said the IOC is also giving $1.5 billion to Rio de Janeiro which is hosting the Games next year. The 2020 Games will be held in Tokyo.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2015

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