By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

April 27 - If Dubai bids to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics then it will launch a serious campaign, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has promised.

The Emarti is set to use SportAccord, which Dubai's ruler is due to open tonight, as a platform to gauge interest in whether to commit to bidding.

Al Maktoum said: "In keeping with Olympic values, Dubai is home to people from many different nationalities and cultures who live in friendship and peace across the Emirate.

"There is a strong ‘can do' culture here.

"We have a lot to offer.

"Dubai already has a well-developed infrastructure and a good track record of staging international sporting events, although admittedly not on the scale of the Olympic Games."

Al Maktoum has admitted that the searing heat in Dubai - where temperatures can soar as high as 48 degrees in August, when the Games would be held - could be a barrier but are not insurmountable.

He said: "The summer heat can be a serious problem for athletes.

"We will have to take an honest look at our weaknesses as well as our strengths.

"I can assure you of this, though: If we decide to make a bid for the Olympics, we will be in it to win.

"We would not take such a step unless we were quite serious about it."

A decision on which city will host the 2020 Olympics is not due until 2013 but Al Maktoum has alrady set-up a company, Falcon & Associates, headed by the former International Olympic Committee (IOC) communications director Giselle Davies, to see whether Dubai should launch a bid or not.

He said: "It is important to understand that, as of this moment, there is no bid.

"All we are doing now is evaluating whether we should pursue that goal.

"We are conducting feasibility studies to evaluate the costs and benefits of a bid, and our ability to meet the criteria to host the Olympic Games.

"No matter what decide in terms of a possible bid, this process will be good for Dubai.

"It will help us identify the strengths and weaknesses of our transportation systems, our tourism facilities, our sports venues and other vital infrastructure.

"This learning process will benefit Dubai even if we never bid for the Olympic Games.."

More than 1,500 delegates from around the world are expected to attend SportAccord, including IOC President Jacques Rogge and FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

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