Macron vows full back­ing for 2024 bid

New Straits Times - - Sport -

PARIS: Em­manuel Macron promised full and en­thu­si­as­tic sup­port for Paris’ bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games, fol­low­ing his in­au­gu­ra­tion as French pres­i­dent on Sun­day.

As an In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) as­sess­ment team be­gan a three-day bid in­spec­tion, Macron told Paris Mayor Anne Hi­dalgo the plan stim­u­lated the kind of na­tional op­ti­mism he hopes to gen­er­ate dur­ing his man­date.

“I’m right with you on your ven­ture for the Olympics, Par­a­lympics and the 2024 ob­jec­tive,” Macron told sup­port­ers at Paris City Hall.

Paris bid co-chair­man and three­time Olympic slalom ca­noe cham­pion Tony Es­tanguet re­vealed his team had been in­vited to the El­y­see Palace — the French pres­i­dent’s of­fi­cial res­i­dence — to­day.

“Our team have a new mem­ber — the new pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic Em­manuel Macron,” he en­thused.

“He’ll be with us on this ad­ven­ture all the way to Lima, and hope­fully, beyond,” Es­tanguet said in ref­er­ence to the Septem­ber meet­ing when the IOC will nom­i­nate Paris or Los An­ge­les as host of the 2024 Olympics.

“Not only is he do­ing us a ma­jor hon­our, but this is a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to an­swer some se­ri­ous ques­tions, it’s a cru­cial meet­ing for the fu­ture,” said Es­tanguet’s fel­low bid co-chair­man Bernard La­pas­set.

The pair also re­vealed they had been grilled by the eval­u­a­tors con­cern­ing the iden­tity of the or­gan­i­sa­tion com­mit­tee head in case of a Paris vic­tory.

“Tony ES­tanguet will be the leader,” said the 70-year-old La­pas­set.

“And Bernard will be the hon­orary pres­i­dent,” re­vealed the 39-year-old Es­tanguet. “The IOC de­manded to know our plans,” he said.

Paris Mayor Anne will lead the group over­see­ing the build­ing of the vil­lage and the Olympic pool.

The eval­u­a­tion com­mit­tee leader Pa­trick Bau­mann said Sun­day’s meet­ings had re­vealed ‘an ex­cep­tional and finely de­tailed pro­ject’.

“The pro­ject looks tan­gi­ble in a sport­ing, so­cial and eco­nomic sense,” he said.

“We also wanted to look as closely as pos­si­ble at the Ath­letes Vil­lage plans,” he added.

“Paris 2024 had worked very hard get­ting ath­letes in­volved in the plan­ning.” The IOC eval­u­a­tion vis­ited the city’s iconic and sport­ing sites set to fea­ture dur­ing the Games yes­ter­day, be­fore con­clud­ing their visit to­day.

Bau­mann was keen to stress on Sun­day that the lav­ish vis­its to bid cities of old were a thing of the past.

“We sit in a room we ex­change. There is no need for any par­tic­u­lar spe­cial treatment. We are ab­so­lutely happy with that. In or­der to help the bid­ing com­mit­tee not to have too many ex­penses, the IOC have de­cided to take this costs over,” he ex­plained.

He also con­grat­u­lated Paris for go­ing ahead and build­ing the res­i­den­tial are that would have been the 2012 Olympic vil­lage had they beaten Lon­don.

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