Olympic Newsdesk - Rogge Boost for Middle East 2024 Bids; Russia Medal Target for Sochi
IOC president Jacques Rogge in London (ATR)
(ATR) Despite rejecting two consecutive Olympic bids from Qatar, IOC president Jacques Rogge says he hopes the Middle East can stage the Games “as soon as possible”.
The IOC eliminated Doha from the 2020 bidding contest in May; the Qatari capital also failed to make the candidate city shortlist in the 2016 race. Qatar has vowed to bid again for the 2024 Olympics. Dubai, which is bidding to stage the 2020 World Expo, is also thought to be interested in trying for the 2024 Games.
Rogge spoke about the region’s chances of hosting the Olympics in London.
Asked when he thought the Middle East would be ready to stage the Olympics, he told reporters: “This is something that you have to decide for yourself.
“You have to make an assessment of a good candidature and a good candidature encompasses many elements, you need very good support from government and sport authorities.
“You need to show to the world and the IOC that you have people who can run venues and organize competitions."
He said solid financial and security guarantees were among key requirements.
“There is a big file to be made,” he said. “It is not up to us to say you are ready or not ready. It is to you to make an assessment ‘do we feel ready or not’ to put a candidature and then you will have the support of the IOC to assess your weak points and strong points.
“But don’t ask me a date. I would hope as soon as possible.”
He added: “I say the same for Africa. I would hope for an African candidature as soon as possible but then it is up to the Africans to make their proposal.”
South Africa is examining the feasibility of a bid for the 2024 Games.
Russia Sets Medal Target for Home Olympics
Russian Olympic Committee
Alexander Zhukov at Sochi.Park in London (ATR)
president Alexander Zhukov wants his nation to top the medals table at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
"As for the Olympic Games in Sochi, we have a task to come first in the medal rankings," Zhukov was quoted by the Ria Novosti news agency.
"It is quite difficult to do, but we have a rather big potential for medals."
Zhukov’s comments underestimate the size of the task after a woeful Russian medal haul at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Russia placed 11th in the Vancouver medals with just three golds and 15 medals in total, marking its worst-ever Winter Games.
If Russia is to meet Zhukov’s target, its winter sports athletes will have to match the achievement at the 1994 Lillehammer Games – the only time the nation has ever topped the Winter Olympics medal table.
But sports minister Vitaly Mutko admitted to Around the Rings at the Association of National Olympic Committees meeting in Moscow in April that Russia was struggling to produce a team of athletes strong enough to deliver record results at the Sochi Games.
Mutko admitted that the sports programs implemented after the country's dismal showing at the 2010 Olympics may not be paying off as expected.
"It's quite a difficult issue. This problem [lack of emerging stars] exists,” he told ATR.
"Certainly there are some problems in winter sports. But there is a program of preparation for the  Games... our teams, our athletes prepare themselves for the Games."
Leonid Tygachev was sacked as Russian Olympic Committee president in March 2010 following the Russian team’s poor display in Vancouver.
Reported by Mark Bisson
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