Madrid: Spanish International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. said that although Madrid is hurt for not being chosen as the host city for the 2020 Olympics, the decision to give the Games to Tokyo was "reasonable".
In its third consecutive attempt to host the Games, Madrid lost in the first round of voting held in Buenos Aires Sep 7. The fact that Madrid fell at the first hurdle against unfancied Istanbul was a shock to most Spaniards, provoking strong reactions. Some Spanish nationalistic newspapers even suggested the vote was rigged, reports Xinhua.
However with time, the weakness of the Spanish candidacy and presentation have become increasingly apparent and Samaranch Jr., son of former IOC president who bore the same name, admits it is time to be realistic.
"When you lose by so many votes, you shouldn`t look at the details but at the foundations of the project. I think many IOC members looked at the economic situation in our country before they pressed their buttons. They saw our unemployment rate and we didn`t give the guarantees they needed," he said, adding that "if Tokyo and Istanbul began from zero in the race, we started much further back because of the economy".
Samaranch Jr. admitted he was taken aback by the huge difference in votes between Tokyo and Madrid (42-26).
"The difference was 16 votes and after speaking to people, I think that we could have got three or four more if we had got through the first round. But on more, I thought it was difficult," he admitted, adding that it was a fair decision.
"They didn`t rob the Games from us, they were never ours in the first place and the decision to give the Games to Tokyo was very reasonable, although we should have been able to get past Istanbul," said Samaranch Jr.
Spain also gave a poor presentation on the day of the vote, failing to address effectively issues of doping when asked about the Operation Puerto doping scandal.
Meanwhile, Mayor of Madrid Ana Botella has come in for strong criticism and ridicule in her homeland for a poor speech given in classroom English.
Botella`s phrase "you can enjoy a relaxing cup of cafe con leche in the Plaza Major" has become infamous in Spain and there are countless parodies of her speech on internet and social media.
Samaranch Jr., however, says the speech was not Botella`s fault.
"We all saw and practiced our speeches at least five or six times and we all thought they were good. So, when they criticise the Mayor, I feel just as criticised as she is," he said.