Cities plead their cases for 2020 Games

Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo have made their appeals to the IOC to host the 2020 Olympic Games.

Hopeful crowds show support for Madrid's bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games at the Puerta de Alcala in Madrid on 7 September 2013. Picture: AFP/ PEDRO ARMESTRE

BUENOS AIRES - Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo made impassioned pleas to the International Olympic Committee on Saturday to entrust them with hosting the 2020 summer Games.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emphatically promised the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant would have no negative effect on Tokyo, while his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan urged the IOC to choose Istanbul and help "send a strong message of peace to the whole world".

Madrid emphasized it was ready, dependable and safe, with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy telling members "numbers don't lie".

After two years of intense lobbying and tens of millions of dollars spent, the three cities have just a few hours left to convince the IOC they are the best choice as host.

But with each city wrestling its own demons, the usual beauty parade has become a "least ugly" contest as they frantically attempt to conceal their blemishes and win the right to host the world's biggest sporting extravaganza.

Ninety-five IOC members are expected vote in the first round, due to start at 3.45pm local time, after two were excused. Should a city not obtain an outright majority of votes, the candidate with the least votes will be eliminated and the two remaining cities will go head to head in a second round.