Dagestan and Abuja bids for 2018 Summer Youth Olympics abandoned

Thursday, 01 March 2012
By Duncan Mackay

Dagestan coastlineMarch 1 - Russia has dropped plans to bid for the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games because the country wants to concentrate on its preparations for the FIFA World Cup, which it is staging that year, it was announced today.

Nigeria has also scrapped a proposed bid from its capital Abuja, it was revealed today.

While the decision by the Nigerian capital to pull out was not unexpected, a bid had been anticipated from Dagestan.

Kaspiysk, which is located on the Caspian Sea, had been prepared as the Russian candidate and the documents had already been prepared to file to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by the deadline today. 

But it failed to achieve the necessary backing from the Russian Government following a debate in the White House and the idea has now been dropped.

"To carry out the second major event in the summer of 2018 in the Ministry considered inappropriate," a spokesman for the Russian Government said. 

"The Government has estimated the realistic chances of winning and, given the complex political situation in the region, as well as lack of infrastructure, has decided not to apply in this cycle."

Dagestan has been the scene of Islamic insurgency, occasional outbreaks of separatism, ethnic tensions and terrorism since the 1990s, which has spilled over from neighbouring Chechnya.

Dagestan bomb
The most serious incident was in March 2010 when 12 people were killed and 18 wounded by two suicide bombings in the town of Kizlyar outside the offices of the local Interior Ministry and the FSB security agency.

Abuja had bid unsuccessfully for the 2014 Commonwealth Games - which were awarded to Glasgow - and sat out the race for the 2018 event in anticipation of a bid for the Youth Olympics.

But the Nigerian Government, which had budgeted a modest $120 million (£75 million/€90 million) to build the infrastructure to host the Games, has now decided it cannot afford them.

The decision means that the wait for Africa to host a major Olympic event will go on until at least the 2022 Summer Youth Olympics. 

It leaves the confirmed bidders so far as Buenos Aires in Argentina, Glasgow in Britain, Guadalajara in Mexico, Medellín in Colombia and Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Senator Ahmed Bilalov, the oligrach, who is a vice-president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) who had been the main driving force behind the Dagestan campaign, had warned last month that if the bid was to go ahead it needed to be underwritten by the Government. 

But he had also admitted that there is "some doubt as to the support of the application associated with the preparation of the Russian World Cup, which will also take place in 2018, which certainly requires a very powerful mobilisation of the state."

Rasul Hasbullaev, the press spokesman for Dagestan, admitted that the decison was "unexpected and unpleasant surprise".

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz


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