January 6 - Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo are all due to hand in their Candidature files to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) here tomorrow for their bids for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, marking the next phase of a campaign which will culminate in a host city being chosen in September.
The files, which run to three volumes and several hundred pages, represent each city's "master plan" for organising the Olympics and Paralympics if they are awarded them at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires on September 7.
The ceremonial handovers will take place at the IOC's headquarters at Le Château de Vidy on the banks of Lake Geneva.
Tokyo, the bookmakers' favourites, will be the first to present their plans to the IOC at 10am, followed by Istanbul an hour later and then Madrid at 2pm.
The Japanese capital will be represented by a delegation led by Masato Mizuno, their chief executive, and which will also include Homare Sawa, a member of Japan's World Cup winning women's team and last year's FIFA Ballon d'Or winner, and Takayuki Suzuki, a Paralympic swimmer who won the gold medal in the SB3 50 metres backstroke at Beijing 2008.
Istanbul's team will be led by Kadir Topbaş, the city's Mayor, and also include Hasan Arat, the bid leader.
Istanbul are widely considered to be Tokyo's biggest challengers.
This is their fifth bid but it is the first time that they have been taken as serious contenders.
Madrid, bidding for the third consecutive occasion, are seen as the outsiders this time because of Spain's dire economic problems.
But they are fielding arguably the strongest delegation for the handover.
It will feature all three of Spain's IOC members, led by Juan Antonio Samaranch junior along with Marisol Casado and José Perurena López, the Presidents of the International Triathlon Union and International Canoe Federation respectively.
The handover is the latest stage in a process which officially started on May 16 2011 when the IOC wrote to all 205 National Olympic Committees inviting them to submit bids.
That was followed by a period during which cities had to declare their interest and submit applicant files by February 15 last year.
Of those that initally applied Baku and Doha were cut from the race by the IOC's Executive Board in Quebec City last May.
The next stage will be the visit of the IOC's Evaluation Commission, led by Britain's Sir Craig Reedie, to all three cities.
The Commission, which will visit each city for four days, will start in Tokyo on March 4 and then visit Madrid on March 18 before concluding in Istanbul on March 24.
The Commission will then prepare its report, which is expected to be published in June, before the 2020 Candidate City Seminar will be held here on July 4 and which will give IOC members the opportunity to find out more about each city's plans before the final vote in Buenos Aires.
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