Olympics: Australia's Brisbane the frontrunner to land 2032 Games as talks with IOC start

IOC president Thomas Bach welcomes participants to the virtual meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Feb 24, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN (REUTERS) - Brisbane took a major step towards being named 2032 Olympic hosts after the International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday (Feb 24) that the Australian city had been picked as the preferred partner to start talks for the Games.

IOC president Thomas Bach said the IOC had approved a recommendation of the commission in charge of future hosts.

"This commission recommended to the IOC executive board to enter into a targeted dialogue with Brisbane 2032. The Executive Board has unanimously approved this recommendation," Bach told a virtual news conference.

Several cities and countries had publicly expressed an interest in the 2032 Games, including Brisbane, Indonesia, Budapest, China, Doha and Germany's Ruhr valley among others.

Brisbane earned bonus points for its high percentage of existing venues, a good masterplan, experience in organising major events and its favourable weather among other things.

The state of Queensland hosted the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The IOC has overhauled its bidding rules in 2019 to reduce costs and make the process easier for cities. There are no official candidate cities campaigning ahead of the vote as has been the case in the past.

Instead, the IOC puts the preferred host to the vote at its session following another review by the commission. Kristin Kloster Aasen, who heads the Future Host Commission, said it was not yet clear when the IOC vote would be held, as it all depended on targeted dialogue with Brisbane which would start right away.

"They are a very advanced project, a number of criteria that sit very well with us. It has been moulded for a number of years, good legacy plans, good venue plan," she said.

"There are many, many things that made us put this forward," she added.

Australia last hosted the Olympics in Sydney in 2000.

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