Olympics-Samaranch tugs at IOC heartstrings in Madrid 2016 plea

COPENHAGEN Fri Oct 2, 2009 9:51am EDT

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COPENHAGEN Oct 2 (Reuters) - Juan Antonio Samaranch made an emotional appeal to the hearts of International Olympic Committee members on Friday, telling them he was "near the end of his time" and asking them to award the 2016 Games to Madrid.

Samaranch, the 89-year-old Spaniard who was president of the IOC from 1980 to 2001 and is now its honorary lifetime president, reached out to voters as Madrid followed rivals Chicago, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro in presenting their case.

"I know that I am very near the end of my time," Samaranch said. "I am, as you know 89 years old. May I ask you to consider granting my country the honour and also the duty to organise the games in 2016. Thank you."

Samaranch then handed over to King Juan Carlos to continue Madrid's presentation, the last of the four bidding cities.

Voting is due to begin at 1510 GMT, with the result to be announced at a ceremony starting at 1630 GMT.

(Editing by Paul Radford; To comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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