JULY 11, 2001 WED  

Canadians not ready to throw in the towel yet

By R Senthilnathan

BEIJING'S winning the battle to host the 2008 Olympic games might be a foregone conclusion but Toronto has not given up hoping for a last-minute victory.

The Canadian city might not have the kind of support in the person of opera stars and famous athletes that Beijing has lined up for its bid, but it reportedly has the support of the British royals as well as a TV network which holds the broadcast rights to the games in the United States.

And now more than 200 Canadians, including Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Toronto mayor Mel Lastman and the city's powerful police chief, are descending on Moscow where 108 International Olympic Committee (IOC) members will choose the 2008 'winner'.

The Canadian group will undertake last-minute lobbying on behalf of Toronto.

This is despite the uproar caused by the city mayor's statement linking Africans to cannibalism and a top Canadian Olympic official's alleged wish to see the city lose its bid so that he can win his own race to succeed outgoing IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch.

Beijing might be the favourite to win the July 13 vote but Canadian officials claim their bid is technically superior.

One factor that could help Toronto is the support of TV giant NBC, which has the US$3.5 billion (S$6.3 billion) broadcast rights for the Olympics.


A WEEK before the votes are cast, South Korean Kim Un Yong has received a double-barrelled boost for his International Olympic Committee (IOC) presidential hopes - the top spot on a blind draw and ringing praise from a countryman of Ms Anita DeFrantz, his US rival for the post.

Ms Sandy Baldwin, president of the US Olympic Committee, told The Washington Post that Mr Kim's election would not be a bad thing for the Olympic community. --AP


THE architect of Australia's successful bid for the 2000 Olympics has made a last-minute appeal to the International Olympic Committee to dash Beijing's hopes to host the 2008 Games.

Olympics lawyer Rod McGeogh said the bid by Beijing should fail because China's record on human rights and personal freedom is contrary to the Olympic ideal and he sees no evidence it would change its ways if it won. --AFP


TAIWAN Premier Chang Chun-hsiung yesterday urged China to show its commitment to the Olympic spirit by lifting its military threat against the island. He also called on Beijing to commit itself to resolving its dispute with Taiwan by peaceful means. --AFP

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