Madrid 2016 Has “Magnificent” Venues – IOC Commission

International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission head Nawal El Moutawakel said Friday during a press conference at the end of the commission’s visit to Madrid, “we have been most impressed to find what the city of Madrid could offer to the Olympic movement. Madrid is ready to organize the Games”.

The press conference was held on the final day of a five-day visit by the commission who was there to inspect the city’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

Some of the highlights of the visit El Moutawakel mentioned were “lunch with the king and queen and the royal family, and going to Bernabeu Real Madrid (stadium)”. She added “(going) to the Magic Box (tennis stadium). What else? Meeting (tennis world number one Rafael) Nadal and meeting (football star) Raul, and seeing with Juan Antonio, our honorary president, was something fantastic”.

Gilbert Felli, the IOC’s Olympic Games Executive Director added, “the list is too long”.

The evaluation commission praised Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon. El Moutawakel acknowledged “the strong commitment of the city of Madrid” with the Games.

The facilities that the commission visited were described as “magnificent”, reports DPA, and the fact that more than 70 per cent of them are already in use or ready for use was described as “added value for the bid”. El Moutawakel said, “we have visited the excellent venues which are an added value for the Madrid candidacy. They are magnificent venues”.

El Moutawakel said, “we didn’t have any spare time because all our time was dedicated to work, work and work. We were treated like heads of state. But let me tell you that our report will be based on a technical assessment”.

The commission head said the ability of a city “to organize a safe and secure Games” would weigh heavily in the committee’s technical assessment.

The Associated Press reports that earlier Spanish interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said separatist militants would not pose a threat to the 2016 Games if Madrid wins.

He said security forces had considerable experience in protecting international sporting events in Spain and that Spain had an impeccable record of protecting major sporting and international events in Spain from being targeted.

Felli said the economic downturn was unlikely to last seven years, so by the time of the 2016 Games financial issues may not be a worry. He said, “each city believes its bid will have a positive impact”.

Meanwhile, Spanish Sport Minister Jaime Lissavetzky assured the commission that a pending doping law that goes against World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules would not impede Madrid’s bid.

The law would prohibit drug testing of athletes between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. while WADA rules state that athletes must be available for drug testing 24 hours a day.

El Moutawakel said the best candidate would be selected, regardless of location. She said, “rotation is not debated within the IOC, but the best city will win”.