Lamine Diack, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), has given his backing to Paris' increasingly-likely bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Although the French capital has yet to formally declare its candidacy, momentum is growing within the city after sports officials delivered a key feasibility study to political leaders, including Anne Hidalgo, the city's Mayor, in February.
An official announcement of their intention to run could come this month, and Diack, due to step down as IAAF President later this year, claims if they get their bid process right they will prove difficult to beat.
"If they are serious they have to work on their candidacy and I think they deserve to have the Olympics," the 81-year-old told the Africa International Sports Convention (CISA) here.
"They have some great facilities like the Stade de France and if they put together a good bid they can win."
Paris lost out to London 10 years ago for the right to stage the 2012 Games when they were considered the clear favourites.
It is widely believed that Diack, a member of the International Olympic Committee between 1999 and 2013 until he had to step down upon reaching the age-limit of 80, switched sides late in the campaign and voted for London instead of the Paris, despite being educated in the French capital.
He believed that hosting the Olympics in Britain represented the best opportunity his sport had of getting a world-class athletics facility there, it is assumed.
Diack's backing come after Georges Guelzec, President of the European Union of Gymnastics and a candidate to take over as head of the International Gymnastics Federation next year, backed the French city in their potential bid.
Paris recently successfully hosted the International Cycling Union (UCI) Track Cycling World Championships at the Vélodrome de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.
The race for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games has already proved to be intriguing, with Boston and Rome the only two concrete candidates so far, although Germany look set to put forward either Hamburg or Berlin at a meeting on Saturday (March 21).
Cities have until September 15 to formally enter the race, and the the International Olympic Committee is due to choose the host destination at its 2017 Session in Peruvian capital Lima.
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