IOC to announce candidate cities for 2016 Olympics

June 4th, 2008 - 3:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Athens, June 4 (DPA) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is due to narrow down its selection of candidate cities to host the 2016 Olympics in Athens Wednesday. Favourites to make the shortlist for next year’s final decision are Chicago, Madrid, Spain, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro, with Prague, Baku and the Qatari capital Doha seen as having less of a chance.

Wednesday’s decision will launch a high-profile bidding contest ending in October 2009, when the IOC votes by secret ballot at a session in Copenhagen.

Chicago is pressing hard to bring back the summer Games to the United States for the first time since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics while Tokyo, which held the games in 1964, is eager to bring the Olympics to Asia eight years after Beijing.

Rio, which hosted successful 2007 Pan American Games, would be the first South American city to get the Olympics, while Madrid is back again after losing the bid for the 2012 Games, which went to London.

Doha, capital of a tiny but wealthy Arab Gulf country with a population of about 500,000, hosted successful Asian Games in 2006.

A win would bring the games to the Middle East for the first time. Many believe, however, the sheer size of the event would prove too much for the tiny nation to handle.

During the three-day IOC executive meeting, officials will also review preparations for the Beijing Olympics, and examine the possible suspension of Iraq’s national Olympic committee.

The Iraqi government ordered the dissolution of the national body last month, saying the committee was illegitimate because it lacked a quorum as four of its 11 members were kidnapped in Baghdad in 2006.

There has still been no word on their fate.

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