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Dubai to join race for 2020 Games

DUBAI will set up a committee to decide whether to bid for the 2020 Olympic Games and the World Expo that year, state media reported.

Dubai's ruler has relied on such large-scale global ambitions to help drive his territory from little more than a patch of sand 15 years ago to the Middle East's business, sports and tourism hub.

Dubai inaugurated a US$120 million cricket stadium in April that has served as a home ground for troubled Pakistan team.

The lavish stadium is part of Dubai Sports City, a cluster of mega-venues that will stage sports and entertainment events and set up training facilities and specialized academies for golf, tennis, soccer, rugby, cricket and swimming. Under construction since 2002, the project's managers say progress has been undeterred despite the economic crisis.

The complex could be key to a bid for the 2020 Olympics, which will be decided by a committee decreed by Dubai's ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

But while the emirate has earned high marks for hosting ATP and WTA tour tennis events, the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament and horse racing's Dubai World Cup, it jeopardized its reputation earlier this year when it denied a visa to an Israeli tennis player for a tournament. The WTA Tour board ordered the Dubai Tennis Championships to pay a record US$300,000 fine.


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