Prince Albert II wooed in world athletics bid

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco has been invited to Queensland in an attempt to secure a top athletics competition for the state. Premier Peter Beattie, on a 12-day trade mission to Europe and the Middle East, is in Monaco to support Queensland’s bid for the 2011 World Athletics Championships. He has invited the prince, who is honorary president of the International Athletic Foundation, in an effort to defeat bids from Spain, South Korea, Morocco, Russia, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates and the USA. The championships, which have never been held in the southern hemisphere, are the world’s third largest sporting event after the Olympic Games and the soccer World Cup. Prince Albert II, the son of Hollywood film star Grace Kelly, has competed at five Winter Olympics in bobsled and is known for dating models and actresses, including Claudia Schiffer. Mr. Beattie said he hoped a trip to Queensland by the 48-year-old prince would open his eyes to its sporting facilities and climate and show it should be a serious contender for the championships. ”It would be an incredible coup for Brisbane to win the right to host this event and we’ll be giving it our best shot,” Mr. Beattie said in a statement released in Brisbane. If the bid is successful, the championships are expected to attract 500,000 spectators and thousands of competitors. Queensland Events Corporation and Athletics Australia are currently preparing the bid, which is due to be lodged by the end of the month. The winning bid is expected to be announced early next year. 

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