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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 March, 2005, 19:35 GMT
Moscow welcomes 2012 inspectors
The International Olympic Committee's evaluation commission arrived in Moscow on Sunday to begin its last inspection.

The commision members - led by 1984 Olympic champion Nawal El Moutawakel - were met off their flight from Paris by members of Moscow's bid committee.

The Olympic inspectors will spend four days in the Russian capital, visiting existing sports facilities and sites for planned new construction.

They will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.

The commission will then take a private tour of Moscow's ancient Kremlin.

The inspectors will be treated to a spectacular horseback parade in the Kremlin's Sobornaya square, before joining Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov for a reception and dinner in the Patriarch Palace.

Sun: IOC panel arrived
Mon: Presentation of Moscow 2012 bid
Tue: Tour of existing sports facilities
Wed: Reception with President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin, plus further presentation from bid committee
Thu: Visit to the Olimpiysky sports compound in downtown Moscow and the Lokomotiv Stadium

The city's authorities have draped Moscow's streets, buildings and billboards with the Olympic symbols, and the slogan "Believe in your dream".

"We are eager to prove to the IOC commision that all Muscovites are passionate about hosting the 2012 Olympics," said Alexander Chernov, the general manager of Moscow's Olympic bid committee.

The evaluation commission's news conference is scheduled for Thursday.

Mayor Luzhkov believes Moscow's experience of staging the 1980 Olympics and its sporting infrastructure makes it a frontrunner for the 2012 Games.

Luzhkov said: "Moscow has every ability to host events of such a level and we view our chances as the highest."

If Moscow are successful, Luzhkov says the city will only have to build five additional stadiums and a new Olympic village, making it the most economical bid.

"It's just necessary to modernize them and the main events of the Olympic Games can be held in them," he said.

For that reason, he added, getting Moscow ready for the Games "should not demand serious spending, as there was in preparation for the Games in Athens."

The commission has already visited rival 2012 host city candidates Madrid, London, New York and Paris.

Interview: Lord Sebastian Coe

Report: BBC News' Mary Rhodes

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