International Olympic Commitee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge of Belgium speaks during a news conference in Buenos Aires yesterday. The IOC will elect the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympics tomorrow.
BUENOS AIRES: The threat of radiation, a leaking of some International Olympic members alleged voting intentions and microscopic interrogation of doping policy focussed the minds of the three cities bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympics yesterday.
The Tokyo bid team found themselves unable to move on and regain some momentum, ahead of the vote in Buenos Aires by the IOC members tomorrow as to who hosts the 2020 Games.
Their press conference was dominated by questions over the potential fallout from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant and none of the answers provided by their bid chief Tsunekazu Takeda proved adequate for the audience.
Eventually the 65-year-old having answered in English for most of the press conference and clearly getting exasperated by the questioning resorted to Japanese to try and resolve the matter.
“At this point the Prime Minister (Shinzo Abe) will participate in the final presentation and will talk about this issue and provide reassurance to the IOC about the food etcetera,” he said.
“There is no issue here. Not one person in Tokyo has been affected by this issue. “Tokyo and Fukushima are almost 250 kilometres apart. We are quite remote from Fukushima.”
Madrid too saw their seemingly unstoppable momentum briefly stopped in its’ tracks as a Spanish paper El Mundo published names - some with photos - of up to 50 International Olympic Committee (IOC) members who were going to vote for them.
While 50 votes would give Madrid an unlikely win in the first round of voting the revelations did not sit well with the members, who vote in a secret ballot. History suggests it can rebound as Le Parisien newspaper did a similar thing prior to the vote on the 2012 Games hosts in 2005 and London edged Paris in a shock result.
One senior IOC member said the revelations in El Mundo had gone down ‘like a lead balloon’ with the members, and one whose name was on the list joked it didn’t augur well for Madrid as he has not voted for the winning city for the past several Summer Games votes.
IOC President Jacques Rogge, though, said he didn’t believe that Madrid would suffer from the revelations.
“I would say that one shouldn’t pay any attention or give credit to this type of information,” said the 71-year-old who was giving his final solo press conference before he steps down on September 10 after 12 years in charge.
“Only the person who presses the button (the way the IOC members vote) on Saturday knows how they are going to vote.
“It won’t harm Madrid’s bid because my colleagues don’t give this type of information any credence either.”
The third candidate city Istanbul underwent a tough examination of their policy on doping especially in the light of a swathe of positive tests this year - 31 of their athletes alone testing positive.
However, Turkish IOC member Ugur Erdener - a doctor by profession and who has led the fight against doping in his country - insisted that the zero tolerance attitude adopted by him and the government meant that progress was being made.REUTERS