Olympics-Coates wants athlete numbers reduced for Brisbane Games


FILE PHOTO: International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President John Coates attends the final day of the 139th IOC Session at Olympic House in Lausanne, Switzerland, May 20, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

(Reuters) - International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates has said athlete numbers at the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane must be reduced to help ensure the games are as cost effective as possible.

The addition of cricket, flag football, squash, baseball and softball in Los Angeles in 2028 will see participation numbers climb beyond 11,000, but Coates wants that figure to lowered when the Australians host the event four years later.

"We've now got a situation that we're going from 10,500 athletes in Paris (in 2024) to 11,242 in Los Angeles," the former Australian Olympic Committee president and member of Brisbane's Olympic organising committee told The Australian newspaper.

"That's the problem for the future of the Olympic Games because we have to continue to look at cost minimisation and efficiencies in running the games.

"But it's pretty clear to me with Brisbane, it's clear to our organising committee and certainly me, that we need to reduce the numbers and get back to a manageable number of 10,500."

Los Angeles is set to be the second-largest Olympics in terms of athlete participation, falling just short of the 11,319 involved in Tokyo in 2021.

Coates' desire to reduce numbers would mean removing several events from the programme, although he is enthusiastic about the return of cricket to the Games in Los Angeles for the first time since 1900.

The sport, which will draw significant attention from the Indian subcontinent in particular, has yet to be confirmed for Brisbane.

"To get cricket on means another 1 billion people watching on top of the 4.5 billion that we attract already," said Coates.

While speculation continues about which other sports may be added or removed from the 2032 programme, Coates dismissed suggestions that horse racing could be part of any future Games.

"It ain't going to happen," he said.

(Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by William Mallard)

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