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No Turkish delight as 2020 Olympics goes to…Tokyo!

16th September 2013

BUENOS AIRES: Looks like Turkey won’t be joining David Bowie or Mick Jagger and dancing in the street after all!

The word is out that the 2020 Olympic bid has gone in favour of Tokyo after the IOC vote took place in Argentina this past week.

After defeating not only Turkey but Madrid, they will play host to the globe’s sporting elite after Rio in 2016.

This will be the second occasion that Tokyo has hosted this event nearly half a century ago in 1964 when a little known band called the Beatles were taking the globe by storm.

Of course there’s a winner, but there were also losers with the decision leaving the 500 plus Turkish delegation bitterly disappointed.

Under the helm of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, informed reporters, “We should respect the decision. Turkey is a country that has successfully hosted a number of major sporting events. The committee made such a decision probably because they thought that we were not yet ready,”

However according to numerous statements on behalf of several members from the IOC, it was not as cut and dry as it seemed.

They allegedly claim the current Syrian conflict had a role to play in costing Istanbul vital votes in favor of Tokyo.

So the Olympic dream is over for Istanbul. Tokyo swept the board with 60 out of a possible 96 votes awarded by IOC members.

But Tokyo certainly put up an impressive battle with their presentation to IOC members which many people believe is thanks to their opening speech.

Delivered by Princess Hisako of Takamado, the Cambridge University graduate executed a perfect speech in English to the roar of former Olympic legends and several royal family members.

With the blessing from the Japanese Imperial family, the princess was allowed to pitch her heart out for the Tokyo bid. This was further supported by its final pitch given by renowned Paralympian Mima Sato.

Then came the outpouring with Japanese fencer Yuki Ota screaming for joy not to mention a wealth of delegates who were in floods of tears.

'What we have seen is the impact of the Olympic values as never before in Japan. And what the country has witnessed is that those precious values - excellence, friendship and respect - can be so much more than just words.' Sato added.

This was Istanbul’s fifth attempt in bidding for the prestigious Olympic and Paralympic Games – but it was not to be.

They had been the leading city for the majority of this race but had suffered to a host of political events. This included the Taksim Square demonstration, which was to be a Games site, doping controversy with several of their athletes and the increasing problems with neighbouring Syria.

Yet bid leader, Hasan Arat, was courteous after the defeat. The former basketball star declared, “It was a fantastic learning experience. We may not have won the Games, but we united the nation. And for that, we can always be proud.”

The picture could not have been different in Tokyo with thousands flooding the streets as the decision was beamed live from the Argentinean capital.

The main big cheese for Tokyo’s bid, Tsunekazu Takeda said, “I have been waiting a long time for this feeling. The members of the IOC have seen that Tokyo is a safe pair of hands.”

Whilst Tokyo can look forward to the next seven years of planning, it’s back to the drawing board for Turkey.

Written by Simon Lazarus

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