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Page last updated at 16:14 GMT, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 17:14 UK

Four on 2016 Olympics short-list

Maracana Stadium
Rio's Maracana Stadium hosted the first Pan-American Games in 2007

Chicago, Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro are the cities shortlisted by the International Olympic Committee to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

Doha, Prague and Baku were eliminated from the nominal list of potential hosts by the IOC executive board.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said: "All bids were of a high standard. It's a tribute to the health of the Olympic Movement that the field was so strong."

The IOC will select a winning city at a secret ballot on 2 October 2009.

The strongest contender in terms of infrastructure, support and money is Chicago, which is bidding to host the first summer Olympics in America since Atlanta in 1996.

The Americans will however have to improve the technical aspect of their bid after an IOC evaluation report ranked Tokyo and Madrid higher than Chicago, with Rio in fourth place.

BBC sports editor Mihir Bose
Chicago's bid chairman Patrick Ryan said there was plenty more work to be done to improve their bid.

"Four cities is better than five," he said. "Three would have been better than four. But we're very proud to be one of the four. It's exhilarating.

"There are a few things we've learned - don't assume anything, be humble, and work, work, work. And we're going to work right to the end."

Rio de Janeiro, host of the Pan-American Games in 2007, would be the first South American city to host the Olympics.

Madrid, meanwhile, is bidding on the back of finishing a close third behind London and Paris in the race for the 2012 Games, and Tokyo hopes to host the event for the first time since 1964.

"We are very happy with the decision by the IOC," said Tokyo bid chief Ichiro Kono.

"We are also delighted with the evaluation but we have not seen it yet and we must now analyse it very carefully to strengthen our weak points and make our strong points stronger."

Doha, the capital of Qatar, successfully staged the 2006 Asian Games and was regarded as a wild card but the city failed to make the cut despite having hired a high-powered team to run the campaign in the hope of making it to the final vote in Copenhagen.

Some of the IOC's executive board members had argued that a city with a population of around 500,000 was too small, while Doha's plan to hold the Games in October to avoid the searing summer desert heat proved unpopular.

"The weather was the main reason we were left off the shortlist," said Doha bid official Aneesa Al Hitimi.

"Qatar are the leaders in the Middle East and we would have staged 2016 perfectly. God willing, Qatar will make it in the future."

see also
IOC pleased with London progress
22 May 08 |  London 2012
Beijing's Olympic venues
21 Apr 08 |  Olympics
Chicago shrugs off marathon mess
10 Oct 07 |  Americas
Bid countries confirm 2016 plans
14 Sep 07 |  Other sport...
Chicago joins 2016 Olympic race
14 Apr 07 |  Sport Homepage
Azerbaijan to launch Olympics bid
26 Dec 06 |  Sport Homepage
Qatar will bid for 2016 Olympics
12 Dec 06 |  Sport Homepage
Japan chooses Tokyo for 2016 bid
30 Aug 06 |  Other sport...

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