Top officials of London's bid to host the 2012 Olympics are furious after a Sunday newspaper claimed any hopes of staging the Games had been
One unnamed board member is quoted as saying Paris had taken an unassailable lead in the bidding process while a second stated that morale among the
top brass of London's campaign had plummeted. It was also reported that the government's perceived underinvestment in sport had reduced the bid's
chances of receiving votes from International Olympic Committee members. But culture secretary Tessa Jowell dismissed the story and declared those
involved in the London campaign believed the race for the 2012 Games was still wide open.
"We're fighting hard to win the right to stage the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics and the government will show just how committed it is to the bid when
IOC inspectors visit London in February," she said.
"This is a contest we can win and are determined to win.
"The newspaper report claims key figures in government have given up hope of winning. I've never met these people, nor spoken to them.
"In contrast to these ill-founded claims we're optimistic and in with a real chance."
Bid chairman Seb Coe reacted with astonishment to the report and revealed that recent discussions with all 22 of the bid's board members had failed to
uncover any disenchantment.
"The only reaction this story has brought from the whole of the senior team this morning, and I've spoken to many of them, is incredulity," he told
BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek program.
"It quotes an unnamed board member. There are 22 of these and I met them all two weeks ago.
"Unanimously they endorsed the strategy and thinking behind the bid.
"This is not a rubber-stamping organisation - they wouldn't sit there on their hands unless they felt the bid had anything other than direction and
"These are very qualified people in British sport and in regional and national government."
Coe admitted Paris had assembled an impressive bid but insisted London was still in the running, with an IOC member revealing it was too early to pick
the favourite to succeed Beijing.
"The only issue raised by IOC members is that they feel this is one of the toughest competitions they're been in. They think we're doing rather well,"