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IOC chief Bach "impressed" by unity of France, Paris for 2024 bid

(Xinhua)    09:49, October 03, 2016

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said he' s impressed by the unity of France and Paris for the bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games while wrapping up a two-day visit here on Sunday.

"The candidature of France and Paris have never been as unified as they are now," said the 62-year-old German who reckoned unity the one big difference of Paris bid for the 2024 Games comparing to the French capital city' s three previous tryings.

"This, I think, is the particular asset for this candidature, to have the world of politics being united regardless of the different parties of political directions, to see the world of sport being united, and to the world of sport and politics being united," he added.

Paris, which last hosted the Olympics in 1924 and narrowly missed out to London for staging the 2012 Games following failed bids for the 2008 and 1992 editions respectively to Barcelona and Beijing, has joined Los Angeles, Budapest and Rome as the candidates for the 2024 Games.

Ahead of a soccer friendly between refugees and French athletes in the shadow of the iconic Eiffel Tower Sunday afternoon to round up his visit, Bach greeted Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace and told the French President he' s also impressed by the vision of Paris bid.

"Paris 2024 is a very strong candidate using some of the city's iconic sights as a backdrop for the Olympic Games," he said.

"It is a project in line with the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020 particularly in terms of sustainability and legacy with 95 percent of proposed venues either existing or temporary. It also puts athletes at the heart of the Games," he added.

Earlier, Bach listened to a presentation from Paris 2024 and was shown around a number of landmarks in the heart of the city which will be turned into Olympic venues if Paris is chosen as the host city.

The tour included the Grand Palais where fencing and taekwondo will take place, the Esplanade des Invalides which will host archery, the banks of the River Seine where triathlon and open water swimming events will be held, the finish of the road cycling races on the Champs Elysees and the Eiffel Tower, which will provide a visually stunning backdrop for beach volleyball.

In Paris' blueprint for the 2024 bid, more than 70% of the proposed venues are existing facilities and a 25% are temporary structures, as the main construction requirements include an aquatics center near the Stade de France, a media center and the Olympic village in Saint-Denis.

"We are looking forward to a competition between world-class cities each of which delivers for the people of their city, region and country," concluded the IOC chief, who also started the "We Run Paris" 10km run near the Louvre in early Sunday morning with 13,000 runners taking part.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, who led Bach on Saturday night on the Nuit Blanche tour, an annual cultural festival of arts, music and theatre in central Paris, said the city is ready to welcome Olympics in seven years.

"It has been an honor to show President Bach our vibrant city rich with Parisian spirit, world famous art, theater, cuisine, a love of life and a passion for the Games. We are ready for an amazing centenary party in 2024," she said.

And Paris 2024 Co-Chairman Bernard Lapasset echoed: "This weekend we have illustrated our commitment to bidding for these Games with new ideas and fresh concepts, learning from the lessons of our past campaigns and setting a new bar in delivering a stunning Games in 2024."

"We have seen further evidence that sport, and especially Olympic sport, is in the DNA of Paris and France. We have highlighted our compact, city-center Games plan, and we have seen first-hand the strong support for the bid among the athletes, the public and all levels of government," he added.

The IOC is due to vote on the host city for 2024 at its general meeting in Lima on September 13, 2017.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhang Tianrui, Bianji)

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