Madrid infrastructure 'added value' to 2016 Games bid

9th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

The fact that Madrid has most of the needed infrastructure already built is an "added value" for its bid to host the Olympics in 2016, the head of the International Olympic Committee's evaluation team said Friday.

MADRID - The fact that Madrid has most of the needed infrastructure already built is an "added value" for its bid to host the Olympics in 2016, the head of the International Olympic Committee's evaluation team said Friday.

"We have visited the excellent existing venues which are an added value for the Madrid candidacy. They are magnificent venues," Nawal el Moutawakel told a news conference at the end of the delegation's week-long visit to Madrid.

The high level of support offered for the bid by all levels of government in Spain and the overall vision of Madrid's bid were also cited by El Moutawakel, Morocco's Olympic 400metres hurdles champion, as strong points.

The 13-member IOC delegation, which has already visited the three other candidate cities -- Chicago, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro -- will publish its technical reports on the candidacies on September 2 with the decision announced on October 2.

This is Madrid's second consecutive bid after it also bid for the 2012 Games, which were awarded to London, and the city drove home the fact it has 77 percent of the needed infrastructure already completed during the IOC delegation's visit.

"Collectively, we are so well-advanced in our plans that Madrid could readily host the Games in 2012, as well as 2016," Madrid bid chief and former Olympic field hockey champion Mercedes Coghen said Tuesday.

Among the venues which the IOC delegation visited during their stay was the recently inaugurated "Magic Box" which has three main courts which each have a retractable roof to allow simultaneous play in all weathers.

Madrid has tabled a budget of 2.7 billion dollars (2.0 billion euros) for the 2016 Games and bid organisers said over 90 percent of the projected income is either already guaranteed or almost certain.

The fact that another European city is hosting the 2012 Games is seen as a handicap for Madrid's bid since the IOC is believed to prefer to alternate continents where the Olympics are held, but El Moutawakel said the best canditate would be selected regardless of location.

"Rotation is not debated within the IOC, but the best city will win," she said.

Madrid has made changes to its last bid for the Games, grouping the event in two zones instead of three to make it easier for athletes and spectators to get to venues.

It is also calling for the deployment of nearly double the 30,000 police officers which it had planned to use for the 2012 Games.

Earlier Friday, Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said he was confident that the armed Basque separatist group ETA would not be able to disrupt the 2016 Games if Madrid is awarded the right to hold the event.

Spain held the football World Cup in 1982 and the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992 and neither event was marred by an ETA attack even though the outfit carried out over 250 strikes during those two years, he said.

"If we had to stage the Olympics today, we could guarantee with absolute security that ETA would also not be present," Rubalcaba said.

ETA, considered a terrorist organisation by both the European Union and the United States, has killed 825 people in Spain in its 41-year campaign of bombings and shootings for an independent Basque homeland.

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia earlier hosted a lunch for the visiting IOC team which was attended by top Spanish athletes, including Real Madrid skipper Raul Gonzalez and world number one tennis ace Rafael Nadal.

"We can assure you the Olympic spirit that you breathe in Madrid is authentic," the king said.

AFP / Daniel Silva / Expatica

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