Sports Politics: London wants Games

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The Independent Online
LONDON produced a surprise by announcing it was bidding to stage the 2002 Commonwealth Games and will do battle with Manchester for the right to bring the event back to England for the first time since 1934, when it was known as the Empire Games.

The two cities lodged their bids with the Commonwealth Games Council for England yesterday, prompting a re-run of their tussle to win the British nomination for the 2000 Olympics, a race that Manchester won. The city was soundly beaten in the vote that gave the Olympics to Sydney.

Manchester's new bid was expected, but officials were taken aback to learn that some of the people behind London's Olympic 2000 failure have joined forces in a new venture which aims to put the capital back on the international sporting map.

With Sheffield still pondering a bid, it is possible that England could be involved in a three-horse race to stage the Games. Melbourne is the only other city to have expressed even preliminary interest in staging the Games.

Manchester, seeking a consolation for their Olympic disappointment in Monte Carlo, will start as favourite.

The London Council for Sport and Recreation, which was at the centre of the 2000 bid, will join forces with London First, a private sector-led body set up to promote the city, to launch London's bid. It is also looking at the feasibility of a campaign to host a future Olympics.