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IOC gives positive reaction after evaluation visit to Madrid

Madrid, March 22 (IANS)

The Evaluation Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) gave a very positive assessment of the candidacy of the Spanish capital city of Madrid after a four-day visit to check on the city’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.

Speaking at a press conference Thursday, president of the Commission Colin Reedie said the 2020 bid was the best the city had so far organised, adding that he had been impressed by a “very solid and professional” campaign which had the advantage of overwhelming public support, reports Xinhua.

“We have seen the compromise of the administration and the support of businesses, but we also know there is popular enthusiasm for the Games, which has been influenced by the support of Spanish sportsmen and women,” said Reedie.

“This third candidacy is better than the first and the second candidacies,” he added, in reference to the failed bids of 2012 when Madrid finished behind Paris and London and 2016, when the Spanish capital lost out to Rio de Janeiro.

He also said the economic crisis which had manifested during the visit by strikes on the Madrid Metro system and the Club de Campo, where golf and modern pentathlon would be played, was not a major factor given that the IOC expect the Spanish economy to recover, adding, “there are demonstrations in many places in the world”.

The IOC visit saw the delegates visit key venues for 2020, starting with a visit to Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, where Real Madrid goalkeeper, Iker Casillas saved penalties taken by members of the IOC, and other sites such as the Las Ventas bullring and the Stadium of the Peineta, which is currently being developed to become the home ground of Atletico Madrid football club and, more importantly in this case, the Olympic Stadium.

Madrid have several advantages, given that the city already has 45,000 hotel rooms available, an excellent transport infrastructure already in place, while 80 percent of the prospective venues are already in place.

This means Madrid would not need to spend too much money on new constructions, although obviously the athletes’ village and a media village, for a prospective 19,000 journalists, would need to be constructed with the city promising to make the buildings as ecologically sustainable and ‘smart’ as possible.

The Spanish hope a successful bid for Madrid would give a boost to Spain’s economy and it remains to be seen whether or not they will get the chance when the host city is named Sep 7.

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