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Olympic hopefuls pitch for 2020 Games

Olympic hopefuls pitch for 2020 Games
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A relaxed Vladimir Putin could afford to smile as he revealed Russia’s medals for the Sochi Winter Games.

The Russian president knows all too well what it is like to wait as the International Olympic Committee mulls over which city should play host to its biggest event.

The medals unveiling was also the chance for three candidate cities to make their pitch for the 2020 Olympics as the race enters the final stretch.

“Istanbul is a city that has capacity and the commitment. We have a city that bridges light and shade, old and new, east and west. Istanbul shines like a diamond.” said Turkey’s Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kilic.

Turkey’s largest city Istanbul, bidding for the fifth time in the last six editions, highlighted its location at the crossroads between Europe and Asia as it attempts to become the first city from a Muslim nation to host the Games.

Tokyo, making its second consecutive bid, played up its own economic strength. The cities’s governor Naoki Inose said: “Many people are saying that our bid is the safe one in this campaign. But what I don’t understand why some people seem to think that this can be a bad thing.”

Tokyo, site of the 1964 Games, has already set aside four billion euros in a Games hosting fund in an effort to lure the summer Olympics back to Asia for the first time since the 2008 Beijing Games.

The final city in the hat is Madrid. Its officials were eager to convince the IOC of the country’s financial clout despite the ongoing recession and record 27 percent unemployment rate.