May 24 - A leading bookmaker has installed Tokyo as favourite in the race to win the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) trimmed the field to just three.
William Hill has made the Japanese capital 11/10 favourite to follow London and Rio de Janeiro as Summer Games host.
However, the British gambling giant still envisages an open contest, with Madrid quoted at 7/4 second-favourite and Istanbul, somewhat surprisingly, the outsider at 11/4.
"You can make a good case for all three of the shortlisted cities, but Tokyo ticks every box and we think they are the frontrunners," said a William Hill spokesman.
Tokyo was already declared as the bookmaker's favourite of six cities last September, but at longer odds of 2/1.
William Hill can claim to have read the race relatively well so far, since it had listed Baku and Doha – the two applicant cities eliminated this week – as joint 14/1 outsiders in that initial list.
It had, however, rated Rome, which withdrew its candidacy, at 9/4 joint second-favourite.
The three survivors will now step up the pace of their campaigns.
Tokyo, which hosted the Games nearly half a century ago in 1964, is budgeting a massive $77.8 million (£49.7 million/€61.9 million) for the second and decisive phase of the contest, having earmarked just $5.5 million (£3.5 million/€4.4 million) for the race until now.
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September 2011: Tokyo favourites for the 2020 Olympics, Doha outsiders - according to bookies