Heat on to find bidders for 2020 Olympics

London: The race to win the right to host the 2020 Summer Olympics does not look like being as hotly-contested as the memorable pursuit of the 2016 edition, a source close to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) told AFP.

Rome are the only known candidates, although September remains the deadline.

However, the feeling around the present IOC Session was that the Italian capital could end up being awarded the Games in a walkover.

Both Tokyo and Madrid - losers the last time round - had been mentioned as potential bidders but both have problems to be addressed.

Hopes of a Paris bid were already dim - Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe is still in power and was the mayor when London stunned the French capital for the 2012 Games - and has now been ruled out after Annecy received a paltry seven votes in the 2018 Winter Games vote on Wednesday.

Thoughts too that Durban might rethink after hosting the vote and the IOC Session this week are likely to prove illusory as the government has already said they would rather spend the money on social projects.

There is also the possibility that Doha would throw their hat into the ring again after being rejected at the first hurdle last time.

But after the disastrous fallout from their winning the hosting of the 2022 World Cup they may prefer to let memories of that dim a little.

IOC president Jacques Rogge had been at pains on Wednesday following South Korea`s Pyeongchang`s crushing first round victory to say that their win did not rule out a Tokyo bid for the Summer Games.

"We`re dealing with two different issues -- winter sports and summer sports," said Rogge.

"This result (Pyeongchang`s victory) is in no way an obstacle for a bid from Asia for the 2020 Games."

Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara - a leading member of the previous campaign which saw them go out in the second round in Copenhagen in 2009 - insisted that Tokyo would bid.

"There are things we must do," he said the day after Pyeongchang`s victory.

"We will do this even if we have to do this twice, three times, four times. We will (campaign) as a national effort," he added.

However, scepticism has been voiced by Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda following the South Koreans` victory and that was firmed up by the source.

"I really don`t think that a Tokyo bid is either feasible or image-wise would sit very well with lots of people still living in tents following the tsunami," the source told AFP.

The northeast coast of Japan`s main Honshu island was devasatated by a 9.0 magnitude quake and monster tsunami on March 11 which left some 23,000 people dead or missing.

The disasters also crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, triggering the world`s worst atomic accident since Chernobyl in 1986 and forcing hundreds of thousands of residents to leave their homes.

Madrid`s chances too were not given much hope by the source.

"Their economy is in such a state and the rate of unemployment so high that I cannot imagine the state could justify underwriting a bid and also I do not believe that it will have much public support...both crucial parts of any bid," he said.

Bureau Report

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