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Athens joins Moscow in bid to hold 2010 Youth Olympics

MOSCOW, August 24 (RIA Novosti) - Athens has joined Moscow in bidding to host the first Youth Summer Olympics in 2010, the chairman of Moscow Duma committee for physical culture, sport and youth affairs said Friday.

The International Olympic Committee voted in July in Guatemala City to stage Youth Olympic Games, which would be modeled on the Olympics, with an anticipated 3,200 athletes aged 14-18 competing over 12 days. The Youth Winter Games will have around 1000 athletes participating.

"As far as I know, Moscow appears to have only Athens as a rival in its bid to hold the Olympics," Victor Ivanov said.

"I was informed about it only this morning by the Moscow sports committee," he added.

He said Moscow had won the right to host the 2010 Youth Olympic Games because it was the first city to hold an international youth games in 1998, which Ivanov praised for being well-organized.

"There were no losers, all the participants left Russia happy," he said.

Earlier this week the Russian Olympic Committee unanimously voted in favor of Moscow applying to host the Youth Summer Olympics in 2010.

However, the final decision has yet to be made by the Moscow Duma by August 31.

"I think, that all the deputies will unanimously approve the initiative, proposed by Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov," Ivanov said.

The preliminary budget for the application campaign, to be led by the mayor, is estimated at 100 million rubles ($3.9 million).

Early last month, Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi won the bid to be the venue for the 2014 Winter Olympics, the first winter games for Russia.

In 1980, Moscow hosted the Summer Olympics but the event was marred when over 60 countries boycotted the games in protest over the war in Afghanistan.

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