It was a close call: Rogge

P. S. Suryanarayana

SINGAPORE: The 117th session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ended in Singapore on Saturday on what was described as a "successful" note.

On the main outcome of the four-day session — the election of London as the host-city for the XXX Olympiad in 2012 — IOC President Jacques Rogge said the contest was marked by the participation of five "prestigious and professional candidate cities": Paris, Madrid, New York and Moscow besides the British capital as the finalist. Mr. Rogge thanked the cities for "the quality of their work throughout the bidding process".

At a post-session press conference, the IOC President said the result was a "close call" as all the five candidate cities were of "equivalent" capabilities and each could host the "magnificent Games". Noting that the bidding process was one of "fairness" as the candidate cities "respected the rules", he said they were sometimes too close to the limit permitted. The IOC came in for notice for being "strict" in enforcing the rules of the contest, he remarked.

Mr. Rogge expressed satisfaction that the Olympic movement "is in a good state, as demonstrated by the success of the Athens Games, the increases in revenue across the board and the high quality of the candidacy process for 2012".

He said the IOC's recent market research had shown that "Olympic values are recognised and understood throughout the world" and that "the Olympic Games are more than ever the world's most popular sporting event".

Amending the Olympic Programme for the first time since 1936, the latest IOC session selected "a quality programme of 26 sports" for the 2012 Olympiad.

The session elected Lambis Nikolaou from Greece and Chiharu Igaya from Japan as new Vice-Presidents of the IOC, while Ser Miang Ng from Singapore was selected as member of the Executive Board.

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