Who Queensland must beat to win Olympics
QUEENSLAND must topple some of the most powerful political and economic giants to bring the biggest prize in world sport - the Olympics - to the Sunshine State in 2032.
The State Government's confirmation that it will join the official bid process for the 2032 Games is the most significant Olympic milestone in Australia since Sydney famously clinched the gala sporting event in 2000.
A recent "Team Queensland" delegation to Lausanne, Switzerland - the home of the Olympic movement - has installed us as favourites, with Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates declaring: "It's there to win."
But now the talk is over. It's time for action. A nerve-jangling battle lies ahead for the Queensland candidature team to deliver a compelling case to the International Olympic Committee, amid rumoured interest from India, Germany, South and North Korea, Indonesia and China.
Another contender Russia was sensationally banned from world sport for four years in a bombshell decision overnight that effectively rules it out of hosting an Olympic Games in the near future.
While Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is confident that south-east Queensland already possesses 80 per cent of infrastructure to host the Olympics, the competitive threat from cashed-up Asian and European markets is real.
India, the world's second-most populous country with 1.36 billion people, behind only China (1.42 billion), has via its Olympic Committee submitted a letter to the IOC expressing their interest in hosting the 2032 Games. The Indians suffered a setback in February when the IOC suspended all negotiations to host future sporting events after the nation denied visas for two Pakistani athletes to enter an Olympic shooting qualifying event in Delhi.
But the parties smoked the peace-pipe in June, clearing the path for India to be back in contention.
The subcontinental nation hosted the 2010 Commonwealth Games, but the Delhi event was marred by construction delays, corruption claims and poor organisation, raising fears over India's ability to match Australia's reputation for presiding over smoothly run sporting showpieces.
China, a political, economic and sporting juggernaut, has a proven track record. The world's most populous country hosted the 2008 Beijing Games, the success of which piqued the interest of the Shanghai government, which outlaid more than $100,000 on an Olympics feasibility study last November. But with no official confirmation from Shanghai at this stage, Queensland appears to face a greater threat closer to home from neighbouring Indonesia, which submitted a 2032 bid in February.
Indonesia has been emboldened after being praised for hosting the 2018 Asian Games, with Chinese Olympic chiefs even offering technical support to finetune the bid of the South-East Asian nation.
One downside for Indonesia could be the everyday challenges for their people. According to a World Bank study, 93 million Indonesians live in "moderate poverty" on $3.10 a day. It will raise concerns over the common man's ability to afford to attend highly priced Olympic events.
Russia was recently linked to a 2032 Olympic bid, with St Petersburg touted as a possible host.
But a four year ban handed down by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) last night means Russia will be excluded from global sporting events, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic.
Germany recently expressed interest in a multifaceted bid involving 13 cities, including Dusseldorf, Dortmund, Cologne, Bonn and Leverkusen. It would be an Olympic record for the number of host cities, but the logistical headaches could prove a stumbling block.
In September last year, South and North Korea made the stunning announcement that they were keen to pursue a joint bid.
Given the political tension between the nations, it would seem an unlikely alliance.
As it stands, North Korea's drug-testing program is non-compliant with the WADA code, which presents a massive problem.
It leaves the Sunshine State as a genuine frontrunner. Now the true toil and endless hours of campaigning begins to hear the words: "The winner is Queensland."