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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 August, 2003, 18:52 GMT 19:52 UK
Rivals for 2012: Havana
BBC Sport assesses the strengths and weaknesses of Havana's bid to stage the Olympics in 2012.

HAVANA
Population: 2,150,000
Olympic history: Never staged
Other bids: 2008
Havana's Olympic chiefs know they will have their work cut out if they are to present a credible case for the Games.

Cast as a rank outsider in the nine-horse race for 2012 by the bookies, the Cuban capital struggles to come anywhere near to matching the financial muscle of its rivals.

When Havana bid for the 2008 Games it did not even make the shortlist of candidate cities.

Fidel Castro's communist regime is diplomatically isolated and its candidacy is likely to meet opposition from the United States.

But Cuban Olympic Committee president Jose Ramon Fernandez argues that the country deserves to be awarded the Olympics for its sporting achievements.

Fernandez insists Cuba could stage a "modest and dignified Games", with priority given to athletes rather than sponsors.

"The priority should be athletic merits, not a nation's wealth or sponsors or television," he said.

The city's team stressed various factors, including successful staging of previous international events and a relatively crime-free environment.

Havana staged the 1991 Pan American Games and hopes to draw on its strong tradition in amateur sports - particularly boxing - to boost its case.

Cuba has become one of the powers of track and field athletics and represents the Caribbean, which has been the breeding ground for many of the world's top sprinters.

The Games have never been held in the Caribbean and only once in Central America.

And the narrow failure of Pyeongchang in South Korea to secure the 2010 winter Games has shown that rank outsiders can come close - especially if a legacy for sport and a case for development is offered.







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