NEWS

Four cities to contest Olympics for 2016

The 2016 Olympics will be hosted by either Chicago, Tokyo, Madrid or Rio de Janeiro, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided in Athens yesterday. The announcement of the IOC’s short list means that the hopes of Czech capital Prague, Azerbaijan’s Baku and Qatar’s Doha have been extinguished this time around. «All the bids were of a very high standard,» said IOC President Jacques Rogge, back in Athens four years after the Olympic Games were held here. «It is a tribute to the health of the Olympic Movement that the field was so strong. I congratulate the candidate cities and I hope that those cities which were unsuccessful this time have benefited from the process.» The IOC’s evaluation report, which assessed the technical merits of each bid, ranked Tokyo top. Madrid was second and Chicago and Doha tied for third. Rio was fourth. «We are delighted with the evaluation but we have not seen it yet and we must now analyze it very carefully to strengthen our weak points and make our strong points stronger,» the head of Tokyo’s bid Ichiro Kono told Reuters. «The weather was the main reason we were left off the short list,» Doha bid official Aneesa Al-Hitmi told the news agency. Each of the four candidate cities must now compile an in-depth file of their plans and submit it to the IOC by February 12 next year before an evaluation team visits to assess their suitability. The IOC will then give its members an evaluation report before the final vote on October 2 next year.