BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Budapest will bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, the President of the Hungarian Olympic Committee and the Mayor of Budapest has announced in a joint letter to the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Hungary, a landlocked central European country of 10 million people, has never hosted the Olympics. Budapest's rivals to stage the Games include Rome, Boston, Hamburg and Paris.
"We officially announce that in line with the unanimous decisions of the General Assembly of Budapest as well as the Hungarian Olympic Committee, with the support of the Hungarian National Assembly and the Hungarian Government, Budapest bids to host the XXXIII Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024," the July 7-dated joint letter said.
Hungary, the most indebted nation in central Europe, believes the fact that it is the only one of the 10 most successful countries at the Summer Olympics never to have hosted the Games should bolster the chances of its 2024 bid.
Hungary has won 168 Olympic gold, 148 silver and 170 bronze medals in previous Summer and Winter Games according to figures on the website of the Hungarian Olympic Committee. Its major strengths are swimming, fencing and water polo.
Budapest will also host the 2017 World Aquatics Championships after Mexico's Guadalajara pulled out, citing financial problems.
Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Ken Ferris