Tokyo Makes Final Three
Image Credit: Rory Hyde

Tokyo Makes Final Three


There was joy for Tokyo and disappointment for Doha on Wednesday in Quebec City as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) cut the bidding field for the 2020 summer games from five to three.

The Japanese capital will fight it out with Istanbul and Madrid for the right to succeed Rio, while Doha and Baku will have to try again.

At this stage, the 12-member executive board looked primarily at a city’s ability to stage one of the world’s biggest events. The Azerbaijan city was eliminated unanimously, but Doha recorded three votes.

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The Qatari capital certainly has the money to stage a spectacular event, and is already preparing for the 2022 World Cup. However, with summer temperatures regularly above 40 degrees Celsius, organizers wanted an October event. But according to reports, there were worries that this would become problematic for broadcasters – with all kinds of other sporting events taking place around the world at that time – and could mean less people attending.

The Qatari bid team took the news well

“Initial reaction? This has been a rumor for the past two days,” said bid Vice President Al-Mayassa Al-Thani, according to Around the Rings. “We were here, we did our best. We’re very committed to the Olympic movement. We’re very committed to sports development, so I think the two countries that were eliminated are emerging markets and I think it’s a missed opportunity for the IOC.”

It could be that the IOC has seen the media criticism that FIFA received (and, 18 months later, is still receiving) for handing Qatar the 2022 World Cup. Tokyo, which failed in the race for 2016, is looking good for 2020 and won praise for a compact bid. There were concerns aired that the Japanese public had yet to express much interest, though bid leaders are confident that will change.

The bidding field is smaller than usual, partly because Rome, seen as a frontrunner, dropped out in February for financial reasons.

For the three cities, the hard work starts now. The final decision will be made in Buenos Aires in September 2013.

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