Daily Telegraph

LONDON’S bid team are confident that they have the momentum to carry them to victory in Singapore next Wednesday, when the host city for the 2012 Olympic Games will be announced.

And to underline their optimism, they announced last night that bid leader Sebastian Coe had been confirmed as Games organiser in the event of London winning the vote of International Olympic Committee delegates. Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, would remain at the department to oversee organisation of the Games.

A highly placed source in the London bid team told The Daily Telegraph last night: “The momentum is with London. In the last few weeks the tide has begun to turn in London’s favour and there is every hope that this will take us to victory on Wednesday.”

The London 2012 campaign have made sure that their public pronouncements have been worded carefully to prevent any sign of complacency. However, London believe they may have already scored an important victory over Paris.

As revealed by The Daily Telegraph, the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and his wife Cherie, who leave for Singapore on Sunday, have written personal letters to IOC delegates and have arranged one-to-one meetings with some of the most senior members for next Monday and Tuesday.

In contrast, French President Jacques Chirac will not reach Singapore until late on Monday afternoon, by which time the Blairs will have held several meetings with IOC members. One IOC member told me: “Chirac does not seem to have given himself much time to press flesh. If the Blairs can make personal contact with more IOC members than Chirac it will do London immense good.”

The Blairs will try to convince IOC members that the Government are solidly behind the bid. As part of this process Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, who was initially very sceptical of the bid, held a breakfast for businessmen at No 11 yesterday.

Jowell, who has visited some 20 nations in the last two years spreading the word about London and is keeping a careful count of how the vote will go, said: “What we have is full Government backing for the bid. We have now had three million messages of support. We, the British people, warm up slowly.

“IOC members have told us for London to win we have to convey the passion of the British people for the Games and this is what the Prime Minister and the entire bid team will do next week.”

© Mihir Bose


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