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Last Updated: Monday, 6 June, 2005, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
London team happy with IOC report
By Andrew Fraser
BBC Sport at Canary Wharf, London

London 2012 bid leader Lord Coe
We have maintained and developed momentum - particularly over the last six months
London bid leader Lord Coe
London bid leader Lord Coe believes the city's Olympic inspection report has left it within "striking distance" of hosting the Games in 2012.

Favourite Paris received a glowing assessment, but London's evaluation confirmed it as the French capital's biggest threat for the vote on 6 July.

"The report is not enough on its own to get us across the line, but it is very helpful as a springboard," said Coe.

"We can now build on the momentum that this bid has enjoyed in the last year."

He said the report showed the bid team's hard work had paid dividends.

"I think we're in good shape to take the battle even harder and further towards our goal."

Coe appeared alongside Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell and London Mayor Ken Livingstone at a news conference at London's Canary Wharf, less than an hour after getting his first glimpse of the International Olympic Committee report.

And Coe declared himself "delighted" with the progress shown since London ranked third behind Paris and Madrid in the IOC's initial evaluation last year.

It showed significant improvements in areas identified then as weaknesses, like its venue and transport plans, and levels of public and government support.

Jowell said: "I'm enormously proud. The report reflects that and we're strong today because we acted so quickly on the contents of last year's evaluation.

"We weren't complacent then, and we won't be now. We've got to keep our feet very firmly on the accelerator. What this report shows is that we have a bid that can win."

The more lavish praise reserved for the Paris bid, however, will have left Coe and his team in no doubt that they have it all to do ahead of the final vote of IOC members in Singapore.

Paris backed up Sunday's impressive Olympic party on the Champs Elysees with an 85% public approval rating for its bid. London's 68% figure bettered only New York's 59%, with Madrid (91%) and Moscow (77%) also ahead.

While the IOC inspectors said the Paris transport network could "comfortably cope" with the Games, it noted that London required careful planning to ensure all facilities were completed on time.

But Coe dismissed suggestions the report had left Paris well out in front, with New York, Madrid and Moscow virtually out of the running.

"This is a report that, from our point of view, gives a very clear indication that we are technically capable of staging an Olympic Games," he said. "It was vital that we had it, but you do not dismiss anybody on the basis of these reports."

This is a race that's too close to call
London mayor Ken Livingstone
Coe insisted public support in London had increased since the IOC poll last November.

"Our own publicly quoted figure just a week and a half ago shows nearly a 10% improvement on those November figures," he said. "So the IOC should certainly not conclude anything from those figures.

"We have maintained and developed momentum, particularly over the last six months, and literally over the last six or seven weeks."

Mayor Livingstone said investment in London's transport network would put it on a par with Paris by 2012.

"We are catching up. The Government has allocated 10bn of investment in our transport infrastructure over the next five years in those areas that come under my control," said Livingstone.

"There's an awful lot going on and by the time we get to 2012, I don't think you will see any difference between the public and private transport systems in Paris and the ones we have here."

Livingstone added: "If you step back three years, the idea that we would be serious contenders for the Olympics was not something that featured in much of the media coverage.

"Here we are three years on, and this is a race that's too close to call."


WATCH AND LISTEN
News conference: London 2012 bid leader Lord Coe


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