IOC Claim Wide Interest in 2020 Games with Tokyo Set to Bid

May 31, 2011

According to Gerhard Heiberg, an executive board member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), there are as many as 10 cities interested in hosting the 2020 Olympic Games.

The tender to bid for the Games was launched last week with National Olympic Committees given until September 1 to nominate an applicant city for the Games. However, although South Africa has surprisingly opted against a bid, and the Italian capital of Rome is the only city to be confirmed in the running to date, Heiberg has insisted there is plenty of interest.

Heiberg told Reuters: “We are not concerned at all about South Africa pulling out. We think there are so many interested parties. Up to 10 cities are interested for 2020, so one has pulled out, fine.”

The Japanese capital of Tokyo is expected to be nominated, while a bidder from the Middle East is also likely to emerge.

Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara wrote to every member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) following his re-election, fuelling speculation that the Japanese capital is gearing up to announce that it is going to bid for the event.

Heiberg added: “The process is going on and we are in contact with them (potential 2020 applicants). We hope it will be a combination of some of the big ones and some smaller ones.”

When asked whether the IOC had wanted a South African city to bid for the 2020 Olympics, Heiberg replied: “Yes absolutely. They showed they could do it very well in soccer and they would do it very well for the Olympics. Fine, they are not coming. They won’t come for 2020, they will come for 2024.”