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PM Orbán Fancies Hungary’s Olympics 2024 Bid Chances In Rio de Janeiro Interview

Tamás Székely 2016.08.22.

Hungary’s achievements in the history of the Olympics serve as the basis for its bid to host the 2024 Games, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in Rio de Janeiro. In Rio, Hungary has once again beaten countries bigger and more prosperous than itself, Orbán told news agency MTI after witnessing Hungary’s victory in the women’s 500 meters kayak four, the country’s eighth gold medal at the 2016 Games.

“The total Hungarian population makes up 0.2% of the world population. And yet we beat the world eight times…” He noted that more countries won medals this year than at the London Games four years ago, while the number of events was the same. Hungary’s athletes therefore had to seriously raise their game just to ensure that the country keeps its position, he said. In Rio, Hungary is so far ranked 12th in the gold medal count and 16th on the overall table. If Hungary were not among the world’s ten most successful countries in the Olympics, with its size and economic strength, it would not have a serious argument to be chosen as the host country for 2024, the prime minister said. Hungary is the only country out of the ten most successful ones never to have hosted the Olympics, he noted.

During his visit to Rio de Janeiro, the Hungarian Premier met International Olympic Committee (IOC) head Thomas Bach for talks, which covered Hungary’s bid to host the 2024 Games. Orbán congratulated Bach on organising a successful Olympics in Rio and said Hungary is committed to its bid to host the event in 2024. He said the IOC’s Agenda 2020 programme, a cost-cutting policy meant to make it cheaper to host the Games, was “tailor-made” for Hungary because it also gives medium-size cities a chance to bid for the Olympics. Orbán told Bach that over the next few years, Hungary will carry out the infrastructure developments that would be needed to host the Games regardless of whether or not it is selected to stage the event. The question is no longer “Why should Hungary host the Olympics?”, but rather “Why shouldn’t it?” Orbán said.

Viktor Orbán also met senior FINA officials in Rio de Janeiro on Friday for talks on Hungary’s preparations for hosting the 2017 World Aquatics Championships as well as the country’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic Summer Games. Orbán held talks with FINA President Julio C Maglione, FINA Honorary Secretary Paolo Barelli and Executive Director Cornel Marculescu. FINA Deputy President and Hungarian Swimming Association chief Tamás Gyárfás, who was also present at the meeting, told MTI that the FINA leaders reiterated that the Dagály Aquatic Centre, whose construction is well ahead of schedule, will be an excellent venue for the aquatics championships.

via hungarymatters.hu and MTI photo: Tibor Illyés – MTI