Bangkok’s Youth Olympic Games bid earns points from an IOC panel of experts for its tested venues and ample supply of accommodations. But transportation in the traffic-choked city and a surprisingly small budget put Bangkok at the bottom of the list of YOG contenders. City Traffic
|Central Bangkok’s sky train lifts passengers above traffic. (BTMS)
Eleven of Bangkok’s sport venues are are in a relatively easy distance of the Athletes Village, within the Thammasat University cluster. But the other 12 venues average some 40 km from the village. Bangkok promises an average travel time of 40 minutes to the outlying venues, but the IOC experts write that the city’s plan lacks the details that could prove the city capable of delivering on transport requirements. Bangkok’s transport proposals rely heavily on a games-time shuttle bus service for participants and spectators, but the busses would use the same roads that make the city famous for gridlock.
The IOC experts feel that transport operations may be unreliable and so give Bangkok only a four to six in transport management, and a three to five on distances and travel times, on a 10-point scale.
|Some of Bankok’s three-wheeled tuk-tuk taxis take part in a December parade in support of the city YOG candidacy. (Getty Images)
Bangkok proposes to run the Youth Olympic Games on a slim $32.2 million budget. But that low price tag concerns the IOC experts, who question the city’s ability to deliver the required YOG services on such a modest budget. Fuller budget details are not available from the bid committee.
Bangkok business support for the bid may be a bright spot in the city’s sponsorship forecasts. Four business executives sit on the bid committee, and the team has been trying to cultivate business support since at least October. Tested Venues
Some 10,000 athletes last used the proposed Youth Olympic Village at the 2007 Summer Universiade. The housing at Thammasat University Rangsit Campus – a legacy of the 1998 Asian Games – can sleep more than 7,600, and feed 3,000 at one time. The university’s adjacent sports facilities were also built for the 1998 games and make up almost half of the proposed venues for 2010. Venue quality ranks between seven point five and nine, but the distance to some venues – like 100 km for sailing – knocks the city’s sport and venue masterplan to a range of five to six. Bangkok does not plan to stage modern pentathlon, saying it lacks the facilities. Governance and Security
|The IOC experts also noted that security guarantees provided by the Royal Thai Police do not clearly cover YOG requirements. (Getty Images)
The IOC experts rate governance over Bangkok bid between five and seven. The bid is driven by the municipality of Bangkok, with national government support, and city leaders are prominent on the bid committee. But the impact of Thailand’s December elections, and the leaders who are set to replace the ruling junta, are yet to be evaluated the by the IOC. Under the country’s constitution, a new government must be announced by Jan. 23.
The IOC looked at security questions, but did not generate numbers to factor into its overall evaluation. Bangkok has a good level of experience in managing large events, but the bid committee has not supplied details aboout command and control, the IOC experts write. Written by Maggie Lee
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