Australia reaffirms interest in future Olympic bid

KUALA LUMPUR- Australia is still weighing up the possibility of mounting another bid to host the Olympics, possibly in 2028, despite knowing its two biggest cities have no real chance of being involved.

Australia has hosted the Olympics twice before, in Melbourne (1956) and Sydney (2000), but the country's two largest metropolises are unlikely to figure ever again.

Instead, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) is throwing its support behind a possible bid from Brisbane and the surrounding areas in southeast Queensland.

AOC President John Coates said a group of seven mayors in the area had been given until the end of 2016 to decide whether or not to proceed with a bid. "The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has given the south east Queensland cities - seven of them based around Brisbane - the opportunity to the end of next year to consider whether they want to bid," Coates told Reuters on Saturday, a day after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chose Beijing as the 2022 Winter Olympics host. "During that time they will need to come to us with evidence of both the feasibility and the fact of having support of Queensland and Australian governments." The final decision on which city will host the 2028 Games will not be made by the IOC until 2021.

The push for Brisbane is because Queensland is in the country's warmer, north area and under IOC rules, Summer Olympics have to be held in July or August, which is Winter in Australia.

Sydney and Melbourne are both south of Brisbane and have cooler climates. "The difficulty in Australia now of bidding is that the IOC has a requirement that you have to host the Summer Games in July-August," Coates said. "Sydney was September-October and Melbourne was November-December so really it's only Brisbane for us, unless you have a special exception and it's hard for the IOC to make exceptions for us when they don't make exceptions for Middle East countries." Sydney and Melbourne had flagged the idea of co-hosting some events after the IOC introduced its Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms, which encouraged countries to cut costs by using existing facilities, but Coates said the cold weather and the distances made that impractical.

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