2016 race hots up

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The Mayor of Madrid believes the Spanish city's bid for the 2016 Olympics has been given an edge over the other three candidate cities following the release of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission's report.

Whilst representatives from Chicago, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo responded to the report by focusing on their own write–ups, Alberto Ruiz–Gallardon went on the offensive by drawing parallels between the Commission's findings on Madrid and the other three bids. Although many observers felt that Rio received the most positive summary from the Commission, Ruiz–Gallardon was not afraid to crank up the competition with less than a month to go before the crucial vote on 2 October in Copenhagen, Denmark. "After this detailed examination our bid has been strengthened because we are the least criticised and the city which has received most praise from the IOC, " he said. "Madrid is the city which has the most popular support, according to the polls carried out by the IOC, which is included in the annexe of the report. An important point of the report is that Madrid is the only city with a separate section which values the legacy which the Games will leave in the capital. " Ruiz–Gallardon added that the Commission's two key areas of concern regarding Madrid's bid "are perfectly achievable before October 2" since they deal with administration rather than infrastructure problems. Regarding concerns about Spain conforming to the World Anti–Doping Agency (WADA) Code, the Secretary of State for Sport, Jaime Lissavetzky, confirmed that the WADA Code "would take priority in 2016" if there was "any conflict with Spanish legislation". Tokyo would appear to face the toughest task after the Commission revealed a "lack of clarity" in the city's infrastructure plan, with the report stating that "a number of venues listed as existing would in fact need to be built". The Commission also noted that a recent poll placed Tokyo below the other three cities in terms of local and national public support for the bid. Tokyo 2016 chair and CEO Dr Ichiro Kono said: "Domestic support for Tokyo 2016 has reacted very favourably to our promise to help create a healthier, greener future. All polls show that more than 20m people in Japan's capital alone support the bid–enough to fill all Games venues several times over. . . We strongly believe that our final winning plan meets all outstanding challenges and fully demonstrates our ability and desire to be the IOC's most reliable and dependable partner. "Chicago chairman and CEO Pat Ryan insisted that the US city's bid team is in the "final stage of securing the necessary governmental approval to sign the standard host city contract in Copenhagen" after the Commission stated that "Chicago 2016 had formally requested the IOC to amend the Host City Contract" in relation to financial guarantees. Questions over the financial model for Chicago's bid were highlighted on several occasions during the report's summary. In response to the IOC's desire to have a singular authority designated for the delivery of the Games, Ryan added: "The management team that the Chicago Civic Federation applauded for its development of this bid is the team that will deliver it and I will remain as chairman and CEO. "Rio was the only bid that did not make any reference to specific concerns raised by the Commission. Although Chicago remains the favourite to win the race, the Brazilian city received a positive write–up that will have raised hopes that the Olympics could take place in South America for the first time ever. Carlos Nuzman, the president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee and Rio 2016, said: "The report is a valuable source of information for us regarding areas where we can make further improvements and ensure delivery of all aspects of our innovative Games plan. . . We are looking forward to the final presentation and bringing our story and our compelling proposal to life with the participation of our bid team including President Lula (Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva) himself. "Meanwhile, Madrid's bid for the 2016 Olympic Games enjoys the strongest backing from the country's population of any of the four bid cities, with Tokyo again lagging behind in the support stakes, according to the findings of a new report. The global study, entitled "Sponsoring 21+", has been conducted by sponsorship consultancy Sport+Markt, and reveals that 93% of Spaniards support Madrid's bid, closely followed by the American support for Chicago (92%) and the Brazilian support for Rio de Janeiro (89%). The Japanese are at the bottom of the rankings as only 72% state that they find Tokyo's application "very good" or "good". "The bid of Tokyo does not have enough support in its own country so far, " said Hartmut Zastrow, executive director of Sport+Markt. "This weakens the Japanese bid immensely. The population's passion for a sports event is the key to its success. "Significant differences are especially evident regarding "Olympics fans" who unconditionally say that the bid is "very good". Only 24% of the Japanese population say this about Tokyo's bid, whereas this support is much higher in Spain (60%), Brazil (59%) and the USA (55%). Zastrow added: "The Spanish enthusiasm for Madrid's bid is very remarkable. Madrid's chances are said to be low, as the summer games for 2012 in London are already on European soil. Also, it is extraordinary that this regionally strong society stands united behind the bid of the Castilian city. For Brazil and the USA, the backing is also immense. The bids enjoy nationwide support, although the majority of the population will hardly be able to experience the event due to the huge scale of the countries. "The findings of the new report will come as another blow to Tokyo 2016 after it was forced to reveal details of strong public support for its bid in May, just days after negative reports surrounding the disclosure of a poll of the city's residents conducted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC poll indicated only 56% of Tokyo citizens supported the Japanese capital's bid to host the 2016 Summer Games. Sport+Markt's findings came from a representative survey, with a random sample of approximately 1, 000 people stratified according to region and city size, quotas for age and gender. The 2016 IOC Evaluation Commission's report can be downloaded below. About The Sport Briefing This story has been reproduced with the kind permission of The Sport Briefing. The Sport Briefing is published by PA Sport and can be found at: www. thesportbriefing. comThe Sport Briefing is updated as and when news happens, from across the global business of sport. 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