'We will still host Olympics'

BEIJING - Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal yesterday expressed confidence that Madrid would eventually host an Olympics after losing out on the 2016 Summer Games, saying Rio's location was the deciding factor.

BEIJING - Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal yesterday expressed confidence that Madrid would eventually host an Olympics after losing out on the 2016 Summer Games, saying Rio's location was the deciding factor.

Nadal, in Beijing for the China Open, said the loss to Rio de Janeiro in the final round of voting by the International Olympic Committee was especially hard to take as Spain's capital came up short against London four years ago.

"It was tough for us. We pushed hard in 2012, in 2016. Madrid did a very good job.

"It's tough for Spain, it's tough for Madrid, it's tough for a lot of people who worked very hard," Nadal told reporters.

"I think London and Madrid was too close, that's my feeling. They had to change the continent."

Rio will be the first city in South America to stage the Olympics.

"I'm disappointed, but at the same time, we were in the final," Nadal said.

"I don't know if we'll be a candidate in 2020 but my feeling is that we are close. If we continue to push hard ... my feeling is that we will finish, Madrid will finish organising the Games." Nadal pulled out of the Thailand Open last month with a stomach injury but has recovered and will play in Beijing.

The Spaniard, who claimed Olympic gold here last year, will face wild card Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus in the first round when the men's draw begins today.

Meanwhile, the Olympic fiasco arising from United States President Barack Obama's failed promotion of Chicago's bid for the 2016 Games should be avoided by keeping heads of state away from the process, a US delegate said yesterday.

Anita DeFrantz, one of two International Olympic Committee members from the US, said she was still in shock at Friday's IOC vote to award the games to Rio. - Sapa-AFP, Reuters

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