Madrid mayor hails first Olympic visit

Madrid mayor hails first Olympic visit

MADRID - Agence France-Presse
Madrid mayor hails first Olympic visit

Madrid mayor Ana Botella (R) speaks with members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) evaluation team at the Las Ventas bullring. AFP photo

Madrid mayor Ana Botella hailed the first day of the International Olympic Committee’s Evaluation Commission’s four-day inspection of the city’s candidacy for the 2020 Olympic Games a success.

After an introduction from Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, the committee visited four of the proposed sites, including Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium. Botella said the committee members were delighted to be met by Spanish captain Iker Casillas and presented with their own memento from the club.

“The day has gone very well. There was nothing untoward and the questions we received were the ones we expected,” she told a press conference.

“In the Bernabeu the members were very happy to be presented with a shirt with their name on the back and meet players and directors, as they did in all of the four venues we visited.”

Madrid is running against Tokyo and Istanbul for hosting the 2020 Games. The commission complete their tour in Istanbul next week.

Botella also reiterated her belief that the 1.5 billion euros left to invest in infrastructure was a perfectly manageable figure over the seven year period until the games would take place and that the games would be an economic boost to Madrid and Spain as a whole.

President of the Spanish Olympic Committee, Alejandro Blanco, meanwhile insisted the bid was different to the ones that failed in their attempts to host the 2012 and 2016 games. Blanco said in particular the use of two of the other venues visited by the commission yesterday - Retiro Park and Las Ventas bull ring which would host the beach volleyball and basketball respectively - was based on the success of famous public landmarks such as Horse Guards Parade at the London Olympics last year.

However, Blanco said the key message of the bid remained that the games would be good for the younger Spanish generation.