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November 13, 2000

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Malaysia amazed at losing
Asian Games bid

Malaysian sports officials were dumbfounded on Monday after the country lost its bid to host the 2006 Asian Games to Qatar.

"It's really incomprehensible how this happened," a spokesman for the Olympic Council of Malaysia said after Doha pipped Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and New Delhi at a weekend vote to host the Games involving 41 nations.

Kuala Lumpur had been widely tipped to win after it successfully hosted the 1998 Commonwealth Games, the first Asian country to do so.

Malaysian newspapers on Monday front-paged a tearful OCM president Imran Jaafar leaving the Olympic Council of Asia meeting in the South Korean city of Pusan, where the voting took place.

"Malaysia did not lose but in the end it was the Asian Games that lost," Imran was quoted as saying by The Star newspaper.

He said Qatar's win was "ridiculous".

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, in Doha for the Organisation of Islamic Conference summit, urged officials to study why they lost the bid.

"We feel sad we thought we will be selected but we were not," he was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency.

Pusan is hosting the 2002 Asian Games.

In the final round of voting in Pusan, Doha garnered 22 votes, Kuala Lumpur 13 and Hong Kong six. New Delhi was eliminated in the first round after getting only two votes.

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