ALEXANDRIA: Governor of Alexandria Adel Labib and head of the National Sports Council (NSC) Hassan Saqr announced Monday the launch of the promotional campaign for the "Alexandria 2017" bid to host the Mediterranean Games.
Under the slogan "Culture of Sports," Alexandria’s powerful bid is competing against those of Tripoli (Libya), Mersin (Turkey), Tarragona (Spain) and Rijeka (Croatia).
"It’s a great honor for us to host this tournament as it will boost infrastructure development and tourism in the city like the Youth World Cup did last year," Labib said at the launch of the campaign.
"We are building a new Olympic village in Burg Al-Arab on a 20-feddan piece of land. We have also agreed with several businessmen to sponsor the tournament since their role will be critical to the tournament’s success," he added.
With over 28 suggested venues hosting more than 31 competitions, Alexandria’s bid focuses on the historical and cultural significance as well as the blend between the old — Downtown Alexandria — and the new — Burg Al-Arab. Both would equally host events and athletes.
A subway between Burg Al-Arab and Alexandria will be constructed to facilitate transportation during the tournament.
"The government is giving full support to the tournament and will be undertaking massive projects to improve the transportation network, develop slum areas as well as upgrading Burg Al-Arab Airport," Saqr said.
The first inspection committee is set to visit on Oct. 25.
The promotional committee, headed by Zahi Hawass, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, is set to begin its activities with an exhibition about Alexander the Great in Alexandria this December.
"We have the right credentials to host the tournament: a beautiful and historic city with the right infrastructure. I am excited to work with the team," Hawass said.
The committee comprises prominent names like 1984 Olympic medalist Mohamed Rashwan, Ahly club board member and former Egypt handball team coach Khaled Mortagy, swimming champ Rania Elwany and Omar Samra, the first Egyptian to climb Mount Everest.
"We need to stress on how the city will benefit from the tournament, a critical factor in the committee’s decision and a key to the success of the bid," said Mahmoud Ahmed Ali, head of the Egyptian Olympic Committee.
Alexandria was the first city to host the Mediterranean Games in 1951, after Egyptian Mohamed Taher Pasha came up with the idea of the tournament in 1948.