POSTED: March 21st 2011

Pescante: Japan may have to give up its 2020 Olympic dream

Tokyo had an excellent bid in the 2016 Olympics bid race / Tokyo 2016
Tokyo had an excellent bid in the 2016 Olympics bid race / Tokyo 2016

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

TAMPA/ROME, Mar 21: IOC vice-president Mario Pescante believes the earthquake and tsunami devastation in Japan might have also destroyed the country's plan to enter the 2020 bid race for the summer Olympics.

Pescante, who also heads up the Rome 2020 bid and was speaking to Gr Parlamento radio, said: "Yesterday the Japanese Ambassador was with me at the start of the Rome marathon and he told me with great regret that his country wouldn’t enter Tokyo.

“At this time there is only a spirit of solidarity for Tokyo. If we had been beaten by Tokyo we might have even had reason to be relieved.”

Rome bid for the 2004 Games along with Cape Town, Stockholm, and Buenos Aires but eventually all lost to Athens.

Pescante also spoke of the threat of the upcoming South African bid to enter the 2020 summer Games race by comparing the Chicago bid against Rio de Janeiro. Rio represented South America and touched a chord with developing nations attracting their votes.

He said, “The candidature of South Africa is going forward, as I have always said, even with three cities in consideration, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Johannesburg. There will only be one bid, but there is great determination on behalf of South Africa.

"Rio won with the support of emerging countries that came forward and took precedence. We will get to the end of this experience with our shirts drenched in sweat, but we will get there.”

Istanbul, Madrid, Paris and Casablanca from Morocco could also be potential cities to enter the 2020 summer Games bid race.

Pescante added, “Turkey is a strong country and Istanbul is a formidable candidature and I have heard that Casablanca is looking to throw its hat in the ring for 2020.”

The NOCs have until 1 September to submit the name of an applicant city which will then be required to submit application files and guarantee letters to the IOC by February 15, 2012. The IOC will vote on September 7, 2013, in Buenos Aires.

Keywords · Mario Pescante · IOC · Tokyo · earthquake

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