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Dutch-Belgians in bid for 2016 Olympics

Published on 23/08/2004

23 August 2004

BRUSSELS – Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has proposed a joint bid by the Netherlands and Belgium to host the 2016 Olympics.

Speaking on Sunday from Athens, he said bringing the games to the
Netherlands would be “fantastic” but that sharing it with Belgium would ease the cost burden.

But his master plan may fall at an early hurdle as, according to the Olympic charter, only one city and not a country can put forward a bid.

Changing the charter requires majority approval by the International Olympic Committee, which already blocked a similar joint bid from Switzerland and Austria.

Meanwhile, Belgium is still enjoying a successful Olympic games in Athens.

Justine Henin, the tennis star from Liege, was given a rapturous welcome when she returned to Belgium this weekend after striking Olympic gold.

Henin was only the second woman to win gold for Belgium, after judo queen Ulla Werbrouck in the 1996 Atlanta games.

She beat French player Amelie Mauresmo by two sets to none, after one hour and 18 minutes.

Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt sent Henin a telegram to congratulate her on her achievement.

Her prize is the 36th gold medal to be won by a Belgian in the recent
history of the games.

It is the third medal to be won by Belgium in Athens, following on from the bronze prizes achieved by cyclist Axel Merckx and Ilse Heylen for Judo.

Another medal could be in view after sprinter Kim Gevaert qualified on
Monday morning for the quarter final of the 200 metres.

Gevaert finished second out six contestants with a time of 22.73 seconds, after her disappointment at being disqualified from the 100m on Saturday evening.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news