The vote on who hosts the 2020 Olympic Games takes place in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
It’s a three horse race between Madrid, Istanbul and Tokyo and according to many it’s all to play for.
Madrid are hoping it’s third time lucky after failed bids for the 2012 and 2016 Games.
Suffering from a debilitating recession and high unemployment rate Madrid are championing a low-cost Games, thanks in part to a majority of venues and infrastructure already in place.
Officials appear confident of producing a successful Olympics for a mere 1.5 billion euros compared to some 11.5 billion euros spent on London 2012.
Madrid’s Mayor Ana Botella said: “We believe that the fundamental message in a situation of international economic crisis as we are in is that 80 percent of the infrastructure is done. That this is a candidacy without risk, it is a secure candidacy”.
If victorious Istanbul will be the first Muslim nation to host the Olympics.
A growing economy and stunning locations across the Europe/Asia border are also pluses in its attempts to host the Games but political protests this summer and a series of doping scandals have raised some eyebrows.
To no great surprise Istanbul’s bid chief Hasan Arat concentrated on the positives and said: “We will have one game, one city, two continents and we will open to new cultures, new visions and it would be very interesting for the Olympic movement to see that part of the world.”
If there was to be a favourite it would be Tokyo, who hosted the 1964 games.
Counterbalancing the impressive financial clout that Japan’s bid possesses fresh concerns have recently arisen over the leak of radioactive material from the Fukushima nuclear plant north of the potential.
But Tsunekazu Takeda, President of Japan’s Olympic Committee insisted: “I already explained to you, the radiation level in the water or food is absolutely safe, same as here (Buenos Aires).”
As well as announcing the winning bid on Saturday the IOC will also vote on one of three sports to be included in the 2020 sporting schedule.
Wrestling, squash and a joint bid from softball/baseball make up the shortlist going for gold.
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