x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Bolt backs Olympic bid

Usain Bolt, the triple Olympic champion, throws his support behind Dubai's ambitious bid to host the 2020 Games.

Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprint sensation who took the last Olympic Games by storm, feels the International Olympic Committee should be pointed in the direction of Dubai when the bidding process for hosting the 2020 Games gets under way.
Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprint sensation who took the last Olympic Games by storm, feels the International Olympic Committee should be pointed in the direction of Dubai when the bidding process for hosting the 2020 Games gets under way.

Usain Bolt, the triple Olympic champion, has thrown his support behind Dubai's ambitious bid for the 2020 Olympic Games. Falcon and Associates, a vehicle established by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was created last week to drive the bid to bring the Games to the Middle East in 2020. Bolt was catapulted to stardom following his stunning achievements in the sprint events at last year's Games in Beijing.

He believes the benefits and exposure for Dubai would be far reaching if they were to emerge victorious from the hugely competitive bidding process. "It would be great exposure for the UAE and would create lots of opportunities for the athletes in terms of new sponsorships," said Bolt. Although the region's stifling heat will represent a major obstacle to any Dubai bid and may require the Games to be moved to the autumn, Bolt feels the athletes can cope with the soaring temperatures.

"I don't think the heat would affect the sporting competition," said the Jamaican. "Athletes perform better in the warm than in the cold. It is also hot in Osaka [a mainstay on the IAAF World Athletics Tour] and you just have to keep hydrated. "It is a fantastic idea and I wish them well." Bolt's endorsement will provide Dubai with a huge fillip in their bid to fend off competition from Cape Town, Delhi, Doha and Kuala Lumpur to host the Games.

Falcon and Associates were unavailable for comment yesterday but chief executive Giselle Davies, the former communications director of the International Olympic Committee, will know praise from the global superstar will do their chances no harm at all. Bolt shattered the 100m and 200m world records in Beijing and became the first man in 24 years to claim gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay. @Email:emegson@thenational.ae