The central Greek cities of Volos and Larissa were awarded the Mediterranean Games for 2013, a multi-sport event held every four years, after emerging victorious from voting procedures held on Saturday in Pescara, Italy, host of the next games in 2009. The joint Greek bid received 37 votes, five more than the Croatian city of Rijeka, in the second round of voting. A third candidate, Turkey’s Mersin, was eliminated in the first round with 13 votes, against 24 for Rijeka and 31 for Volos and Larissa. «These games are of major importance for Volos, Larissa and the wider region of Thessaly, which will acquire infrastructure that it lacks – infrastructure that will improve the quality of life of its citizens and significantly bolster the regional economy,» noted Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis. At a news conference shortly after the Volos-Larissa win was announced, the bid committee’s chief Isidoros Kouvelos, Bakoyannis’s husband, said the event’s committee had «embraced the ambitious Greek proposal for upgrading the Mediterranean Games.» Kouvelos described the joint Greek bid as difficult, noting that the relevant campaign commenced several months after the other two candidate cities had already begun preparations. Held under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee and currently involving over 20 countries from three continents, the Mediterranean Games were first held in 1951 in Alexandria, Egypt, after the idea was proposed at the 1948 Olympic Games by Muhammed Taher, chairman of the Egyptian Olympic Committee. Initially, the sporting event was held one year before the Olympic Games, but since 1993, it has been staged the following year. Italy leads the all-time medal tally. Greece is ranked sixth.