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040Welcome, with sights set on 2019. Milan opens the doors to the IOC: an inspection visit to the Lombardy capital started today to evaluate the candidacy to host the Olympic Session scheduled in two years time. The President of the CONI, Giovanni Malagò, together with the Secretary General, Roberto Fabbricini, the Deputy Secretary General and Olympic Training Manager, Carlo Mornati, and dossier project leader, Diana Bianchedi, welcomed the two Executive members of the International Olympic Committee, Ser Miang Ng (Singapore) and Willi Kaltschmitt Lujan (Guatemala), accompanied by two IOC officials appointed by President Thomas Bach for this assignment.

The delegation's tour started from the Scala Theatre, universally recognized as one of the world’s top opera theatres: playing host was Superintendent, Alexander Pereira, who illustrated - together with marketing director, Lanfranco Li Cauli, - the strong points of this symbolic building and invited the guests to visit the stage named after the great orchestral conductor, Arturo Toscanini, the artist who returned the theatre to music in 1946 after the bombing of 15 August 1943, and then the Museum’s Esedra Hall. The visit ended in the famous “loggione” and gallery, where the guests were able to enjoy a part of the "Hendel Project" show.

The IOC members, together with the Lausanne officials, after the impressive start to their Milan tour, were received by Mayor Giuseppe Sala, and by the Head of the Department for Sport, Tourism and Quality of Life, Roberta Guaineri. President Malagò said just how proud Italian sport was for this magnificent opportunity, recalling the crucial crossroads of the Lima session for the assignment of the candidacy and the decisive collaboration between the Municipality, the Region and the CONI for its success, without forgetting the importance of Milan as a city with a strong sporting vocation, and with the added value represented by the headquarters of the Federations in via Piranesi. Mayor Sala, after an exchange of gifts (photo by Filippo Gabutti GMT), praised the city's international spirit and the passion of its inhabitants for big events, mentioning - among others - last year's Champions League soccer final and the Giro d’Italia cycle race – including because of the opportunities they can offer. The Mayor also underscored the city’s great dedication to voluntary work and the efforts made to ensure security, underlining that Milan is sensitive to the appeal and fascination of the Olympic event and ready to honour the opportunity represented by the 2019 IOC session.

Ser Miang Ng and Willy Kaltschmitt Lujan, on their part, thanked the Municipality and the CONI for their efforts in making the bid and recalled the importance of the 2019 session, scheduled to assign the location of the 2026 Winter Olympic Games.

A short walk to admire the city’s architectural sites, including the Vittorio Emanuele II gallery and the Cathedral, was a prelude to the arrival of the delegation at the headquarters of the Lombardy Region, where it was welcomed by Governor Roberto Maroni and the Head of the Department of Sport and Olympic canoer, Antonio Rossi. On the 39th floor, with breathtaking views in the background, Malagò added a few words to what he had already said in the City Hall, highlighting Lombardy as the cradle of sport in its most qualified sense and also recalling Maroni's endeavours not only to safeguard the Formula One Grand Prix of Monza, but also in favour of the overall growth of competitive sport and of the management of major sports events. Maroni said how proud he was and expressed his intention to do all he possibly could to make the candidacy a success. The IOC members on the other hand extended their congratulations for the compactness of the bid, which is backed by solid institutional support, and said they looked forward to meeting again at the Lima session. Also taking part in the meeting was the Chairman of the Lombardy Regional Committee of the CONI, Oreste Perri. The day ended in Cornaredo, with a dinner prepared by chef Oldani. Tomorrow is the last day of the visit: another series of major appointments to discover the other beautiful parts of the city and get to know other institutional representatives, ready to play their part in this adventure called Milan 2019.

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