The IOC Commission at Bernabau. (ATR)
(ATR) Iconic venues of Madrid were on display for the first day of the IOC Evaluation Commission inspection of the Madrid 2020 Olympic bid.
In the morning the Madrid bid team made presentations on sports, legacy and the Olympic Village before a first round of visits to the venues.
In the Madrid team’s evening press conference the day was described as ‘very good’ by city Mayor Ana Botella who spoke about the economic benefits of the Games in the city. She added words of warning about potential protests and transport strikes in the days ahead.
“We know exactly what we need to spend on infrastructures and the economic advantages the Games would bring for Madrid and Spain far outweighs this. The communication of the Games before, during and after has a huge impact for the country, its youngsters, business and tourism, we only have to look at the example of Barcelona to know that.
“The right to protest is protected by law, and if authorized there is no problem with any protest. All I will say is what we are doing here is for the good of all of us. I would ask people to act responsibly and I would like to thank public transport that has cancelled the bus strike previously planned for these days,” she continued.
The Spanish Minister for Sport, Miguel Cardenal, promised that tougher anti-doping laws approved earlier this month would become law before the IOC vote for 2020 in September.
The new laws come into line with World Anti-Doping Agency standards
Mayor Ana Botella. (ATR)
and are in the process of becoming law specifically to bolster Madrid's bid to win the Games.
Alejandro Blanco, President of the Spanish Olympic Committee and the bid team, thought that the venue visits had "demonstrated the beauty of the city and had made a great impact".
In answer to a question from Around the Rings about the difference between this bid and the two unsuccessful attempts to hold the 2012 and 2016 Games, he said there were new ideas in the bid.
Las Ventas, a bullfighting ring, would be covered and used for basketball. (ATR)
have seen two important venues today that are new to the candidacy, the Las Ventas bullring where the basketball will be played and the Retiro Park where the beach volleyball will take place. It will be a luxury to have an event in the park and the image of the Davis Cup being played in Las Ventas was spectacular and we want to repeat that.”
Earlier the IOC members and the press met at the city’s famous Santiago Bernabau stadium, home of Real Madrid. Members of the Evaluation Commission were entertained on the pitch by club president Florentino Perez and club legends past and present, Emilio Butragueno and Iker Casillas.
Casillas, the Current club and Spain captain and goalkeeper, went into the nets and allowed the IOC members take a shot at him from the penalty spot and showed no mercy in saving every single one of them.
Written and reported in Madrid by Dermot Ledwith
and Ed Hula
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