Athens.- Volos and Larissa, Greece, were named host cities of the 17th Mediterranean Games to be held in 2013. The Greek bid, which had been vying for a year and a half for this result, triumphed over rival bidder Rijeka, Croatia, in the second voting, garnering 37 votes. Rijekaʼs bid trailed with 34 votes.
In the first vote, the Greek bid received 31 ballots, Rijeka of Croatia 24 and Mersin of Turkey 13. Prior to the voting process, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis had stated, “We [Greeceʼ bid] are a strong outsider. We have fought this battle altogether, the local governments, the organizing committee, the Greek Government, the lawmakers.”
The President of the Greek Bid Committee for the XVII Mediterranean Games Isidoros Kouvelos gave a news conference shortly after winning the voting process.
“The International Committee of Mediterranean Games and the 23 National Olympic Committees trusted the ambitious Greek proposal to have the Mediterranean Games upgraded and named the Volos and Larissa host cities of the 2016 Games. We thank the ICMG and the National Olympic Committees of the Mediterranean nations for accepting our bid, trusting and supporting our vision and initiative.”
Kouvelos reiterated that the objective is to give the 2013 Mediterranean Games a strong prospect. “Our goal is to have the most distinguished athletes in the 2013 Mediterranean Games, offer the Games strong future prospects, make them autonomous and attribute them a liaison role for the nations of the Mediterranean, converting it into a sea of peace, cooperation, culture and progress. Our second major mission is the contribution to the regional growth of Thessaly, which will be called on to welcome thousands of visitors in 2013, offering them the best possible infrastructure network.”
Kouvelos then went on to thank the sponsors and those who offered their full backing to the Greek bid. “We commit ourselves to fulfilling thei great goal of ours and implementing our proposal. We mean to organize the best Mediterranean Games in history, and assisted by the ICMG and the National Olympic Committees we will get down to work immediately. Thank you and we are waiting for you in Volos in 2013,” concluded Kouvelos.