Lord Coe urges Dubai to mull Olympics bid

Sebastian Coe says if the city wins Expo 2020 it would be a good showcase for the emirate
Lord Sebastian Coe. (Getty Images)
By Staff writer
Sun 16 Jun 2013 09:30 AM

If Dubai is successful in its bid to host World Expo 2020 it should capitalise on this and bid to host the Olympics Games, according to Lord Sebastian Coe, who successfully managed London’s successful hosting of the games last year.

"Expo would show Dubai can deliver. There is absolutely no reason why the Olympics should not be an ambition for Dubai going forward," Lord Sebastian Coe, a former gold medal winning Olympian and organiser of the London 2012 games, told the Abu Dhabi-based The National newspaper.

While he warned that staging such major events was “not a walk in the park’ he wished the Dubai Expo 2020 team well: “I wish them well in their campaign. It is very important for the city.”

Dubai may look to host the Youth Olympic Games or the Asia Games as it prepares to bid for hosting rights for the 2024 Olympics Games.

“We’re thinking of hosting the Olympic youth events during this time…which will be a sort of rehearsal for us. At least if not the Youth Olympics [then we’ll bid] for the Asian Games,” said Saeed Abdul Ghaffar Hussain, secretary general of the committee said in September 2011.

The emirate could compete with as many as 14 other global cities for the rights to host the 2024 games, including Paris, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Madrid and Kiev.

Hussain said Dubai was as prepared as any other bidding city to manage the Olympics, and that the 2024 event would leave plenty of time for the emirate to prepare its own Olympic candidates.

Dubai’s bid to host World Expo 2020 moved a step closer at the weekend when it secured the support of the French Government.

Speaking at a diplomatic reception, Mohammad Meer Abdullah Al Rafesi, UAE Ambassador to France, said: “Yes, we have been assured of France’s support for the Expo 2020 bid.”

This is the second major breakthrough for the UAE, following the UK’s support for UAE’s bid announced last month.

“We are talking to all the members of the BIE residing here. However, other competing cities are also doing the same and it will be difficult to say anything ahead of the crucial votes in November. However, we are optimistic and with the wonderful presentation, we are more confident now,” he said.

The Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) last week approved the UAE’s plans for the international event as meeting the criteria for staging the expo, based on inspections by BIE officials.

BIE officials voted to drop the Thai city Ayutthaya from contention amid concerns the bid did not have sufficient support from the government.

The other cities still in the race are Sao Paulo in Brazil, Yekaterinburg in Russia and Izmir in Turkey.

The emirate also has the backing of former US president Bill Clinton. The winner will be announced after a vote by the bureau’s 166 member states at its next general assembly in November.

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