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L.A. is beat out by Paris

French decision to switch bid site helps land 2011 weightlifting championships.

September 16, 2007|Lisa Dillman | Times Staff Writer

Paris, not Los Angeles, will play host to the 2011 World Weightlifting Championships, it was announced Saturday in Thailand.

French weightlifting federation officials decided to submit Paris as the proposed site, rather than Strasbourg, France, in the final days before the decision. Paris reportedly got 10 votes and Los Angeles eight.

"While we were disappointed not to have won the bid, the result demonstrates that we have a good relationship with the [International Weightlifting Federation] and have reason to be optimistic that we will host a future IWF world championship," Los Angeles Sports Council President David Simon said in a statement.

Simon said in an e-mail that the reason for L.A.'s loss "appeared to be strong doubts on the part of several IWF voters that their countries' athletes and officials would be able to obtain visas to enter the United States for the competition. . ."

Simon said those concerns came across "quite strongly" during the question-and-answer portion of Los Angeles' presentation. The Shrine Auditorium would have been the venue, and it was believed Los Angeles was in a strong position, having previously bid for the world championships.

Though Simon and other delegation members told the executive board that there is a new State Department program to help expedite visa requests in sports-related matters, those assurances were not enough.

". . . Their negative experiences of the last few years could not be overcome," Simon said.

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lisa.dillman@latimes.com

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